Professor Barbara Arneil receives one of Canada’s highest honors: appointment to the Order of Canada

On June 30, 2023, Barbara Arneil was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada and recognized for her exceptional contributions to Political Theory and to the discipline of Political Science. This prestigious appointment is a testament to Barbara’s remarkable career and the profound impact she has made on the academic community and beyond.

Barbara Arneil, Professor of Political Science at the University of British Columbia, has long been recognized as a leading political theorist. She completed a PhD at University College London, before becoming Senior Policy Advisor to the Hon. Lloyd Axworthy, Minister of Foreign Affairs and then joined UBC in 1996. Barbara has received numerous awards, including the Killam Research and Killam Teaching prizes at UBC, the David Easton Award from APSA, the CB MacPherson Prize from the CPSA, and became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2022.

She is a remarkably productive scholar, but what stands out most in her research is that it spans a very wide range of topics and concerns in political theory. Her books and peer-reviewed articles have made major contributions to feminist theory, to the political theory and practice of colonialism, to the understanding and use of the concept of social capital in the discipline and beyond, and to the political theory of disability. Her books include:

  • John Locke and America: The Defence of English Colonialism, which argue Locke’s political theory was – in part – a defense of English colonialism in America;
  • Domestic Colonies: The Turn Inward to Colony, which explores the theory and historical practise of colonies created within states’ own borders.
  • Politics and Feminism, which examines the intersection of three waves of feminism and politics.
  • Diverse Communities: The Problem with Social Capital, which examines the relationship between social capital and diversity.

Barbara’s current research is on the theoretical and ideological distinctions between imperialism and colonialism and she is beginning research towards a book on an ‘organic political theory’.

Barbara has also played a pivotal role in shaping the discipline of political science in Canada, having served as Head of the Department of Political Science at UBC and as President of the Canadian Political Science Association (CPSA). Under her leadership, the CPSA navigated its way through the onset of COVID and its first online annual conference. She has also demonstrated a deep commitment to service in our Department and the university and to public service and community engagement. She has been a strong advocate for equity, inclusivity and diversity within academia and society. Her dedication to mentorship has shaped the next generation of political scientists and empowered them to make meaningful contributions to their respective fields. Professor Arneil has supervised 18 doctoral students and more than 20 master’s students, many of whom have themselves made important contributions to scholarship and public life in Canada.

The Order of Canada, one of the country’s highest honors, recognizes individuals who have made extraordinary contributions. Professor Barbara Arneil’s appointment is a testament to her exceptional accomplishments and her lasting impact on the field of political science. We congratulate her on this richly-deserved recognition and celebrate her continuing career in our Department and at the University of British Columbia.