Picture of Ashleigh Androsoff

Ashleigh Androsoff PhD, University of Toronto

Assistant Professor

Faculty Member in History

Arts 707

Research Area(s)

  • Western Canada
  • Ethnic Diversity and Cultural Pluralism
  • Collective Memory and Identity Construction
  • Communalism and Land Tenure
  • Gender Roles and Relations
  • Settler Colonialism and Migration
  • Nation- and Empire-Building
  • Indigenous Peoples

About me

Dr. Ashleigh Androsoff specializes in the history of Western Canada (present-day British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba).  She currently serves as Communications Chair for the Department of History and as Chair of the History Department's Collaboratorium (Co-Lab) for Community-Engaged Research. She also serves as an Elder of the Doukhobor Society of Saskatoon and is a citizen of Métis Nation - Saskatchewan.

Dr. Androsoff is currently revising her first book manuscript, Spirit Wrestling: The "Doukhobor Problem" in Russia and in Canada (past peer review with UBC Press).  Spirit Wrestling will contribute to our understanding of how non-conformist ethnic minorities challenge multiethnic states during critical phases of nation- and empire-building.  Her second book project, Stalwart Peasants with their Stout Wives, studies immigrant challenges to Canadian norms concerning gender roles and relations, focusing on the Doukhobors as a case study.  

She recently collaborated with Mr. Ryan Androsoff (Community Partner) and Dr. Elizabeth Scott (Western Development Museum) on the Doukhobor Living Book Project.  This project documented and interpreted the Saskatchewan Doukhobors' past and present spiritual beliefs and practices, and produced a documentary film ("We've Concluded Our Assembly"), an immersive audio-visual gallery installation, and a multi-media website, as well as research papers and presentations.  See www.doukhoborlivingbook.ca for more information.  This project won the Governor General's History Award for Excellence in Museums award in 2020 (https://www.canadashistory.ca/awards/governor-general-s-history-awards/award-recipients/2020/the-saskatchewan-doukhobor-living-book-project)

Dr. Androsoff is currently accepting new graduate students whose projects focus on Canadian history.  If you are interested in working with her as a graduate student, please follow the instructions under "Graduate Supervision" below. 


Spirit Wrestling: The “Doukhobor Problem” in Russia and in Canada [UBC Press, past peer review].

"Moose Jaw's Tunnel Vision: Mystery, History, and the Construction of 'Canada's Most Notorious City'. Urban History Review 49 no. 1 (Fall 2021): 54-83. 

"The Trouble with Teamwork: Doukhobor Women's Plow-Pulling in Western Canada, 1899."  Canadian Historical Review 100 no. 4 (2019): 540-563.  Winner of the 2020 Canadian Committee on Women's History English-Language Article Prize.  

with Emily Lonie, "Archives 101: Engaging Post-Secondary Students with Primary Sources."  Fonds d’archives 1 no. 1 (2017): 1-9.

“A Larger Frame: ‘Redressing’ the Image of Doukhobor-Canadian Women in the Twentieth Century,” in Sisters or Strangers? Immigrant, Ethnic, and Racialized Women in Canadian History, 2nd ed., eds. Marlene Epp and Franca Iacovetta (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2016): 298-316.

“Pacifist ‘Terrorists’ in the ‘Peaceable Kingdom’: Cultural Conflict in 20th-Century Canada,” Journal for the Study of Radicalism, 7 no. 1 (Spring 2013): 1-35.

“A Larger Frame: ‘Redressing’ the Image of Doukhobor-Canadian Women in the Twentieth Century,” Journal of the Canadian Historical Association, 18 no.1 (2007): 81-105.

Teaching & Supervision

Alberta British Columbia Canada Creativity Diversity Gender Indigenous Manitoba Saskatchewan Women

I aim to motivate, inspire, and empower my students to follow their curiosity, explore their creativity, develop their capacity for critical thinking, fine-tune their oral and written communication skills, work independently and collaboratively, and engage effectively with their communities.  

Graduate Supervision:

I am currently accepting new graduate students whose projects focus on Canadian history, and particularly on the themes of western Canada, nation-building, immigration / immigrants, Indigenous peoples, ethnicity, religion, politics, law, multiculturalism, minority groups, diversity, gender, medicine, health, agriculture / rural, collective memory / commemoration, community-engaged research, oral history research, and/or public history.

If you are interested in working with me, please introduce yourself by email.  Include the following information in your email: 

* An introduction of who you are, and why you want to pursue graduate studies

* A brief statement about why you want to pursue graduate studies at the University of Saskatchewan, and why you want to work with me in particular

* A brief introduction of the Canadian history project you would like to work on as a graduate student

* A copy of your academic CV

Student Researchers: 

If you are a University of Saskatchewan student and you are interested in being considered as a candidate for paid student researcher positions with me in the future, please introduce yourself by email.  Include the following information in your email: 

* An introduction of who you are

* A brief statement about why you are interested in working with me as a paid student researcher 

* A copy of your academic CV (include the codes and titles for university-level courses you have already taken that you think are relevant to the research I am doing)

Undergraduate Teaching: 

I encourage undergraduate students to produce academic coursework that has the potential to engage public audiences.  The "Lest We Forget" project, for example, invites students to think about how the history of the First World War is interpreted and presented to others. Students select a Saskatchewan-based soldier or nurse who served during the Great War.  Using data mined from their soldier or nurse's digitized service file (accessible through Library and Archives Canada's website) along with material from lecture and secondary-source research, students design a commemoration of the service person's contribution to Canada's war effort.  A selection of students' projects is on display as part of the Diefenbaker Canada Centre's "Deo et Patriae - For God and Country" exhibit until 15 December 2017.  This project has also been featured on "Things I'm Fonds Of," a blog produced by my collaborator for the first iteration of this project: Emily Lonie, Archivist for the City of Coquitlam (B.C.).  For more information about the project, please see: http://www.thingsimfondsof.com/lest-we-forget/.  

Current Course Offerings at the University of Saskatchewan: 

* HIST195.3 Indigenous Perspectives on Canadian History

* HIST257.3 The Canadian Prairie to 1905

Past Course Offerings at the University of Saskatchewan:

* HIST175.3 History Matters: National Identity and Cultural Diversity in Canada 

* HIST256.3 Post Confederation Canada 1867 to the Present 

* HIST258.3 The Canadian Prairie since 1905 

* HIST315.3 Indigenous Health History

* HIST430.3 Gender and Sexuality in Western Canada 

Research Presentations Related to Pedagogy: 

"Truth and Reconceptualization: Indigenous Pedagogies in the Post-Secondary Classroom," Teaching and Learning Today Conference, University of Saskatchewan, 2018.  

"Truth and Reconceptualization: Indigenizing the Way we Teach BC History," BC Studies Conference, Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo, British Columbia, 2017.

“Turning the Tables: Bringing Aboriginal Pedagogies into Academic Practice,” Faculty Development Workshop, Langara College, 2016.

“Turning the Tables: Bringing Aboriginal Pedagogies into Academic Practice,” Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education Conference, 2015.  


19th Century 20th Century Aboriginal Alberta British Columbia Canada Collective Memory Communalism Cultural Pluralism Doukhobors Empire Building Ethnicity Gender Health Identity Indigenous Land Tenure Law Manitoba Medicine Migration Multiculturalism Nation Building Oral Culture Politics Religion Russia Saskatchewan Settler Colonialism

I specialize in the history of ethnic diversity in Western Canada (present-day British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba). 

My research focuses on the construction of ethnic, regional, national, imperial, and gender identities over time.  I am particularly interested in understanding how and why attitudes towards cultural pluralism evolve in multiethnic states, and have focused on nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russia and Canada in my recent work.

Current Projects:

In Spirit Wrestling: The “Doukhobor Problem” in Russia and in Canada (past peer review with UBC Press), I explain how some members of a pacifistic Christian group came to be identified as terrorists after migration to a liberal, democratic, and culturally pluralist state.  I argue that this “Doukhobor problem” emerged out of identity conflicts in Russia and Canada alike, and use public responses to the “Doukhobor problem” to explain evolving conceptions of Russian and Canadian identities in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. I consider the Doukhobors’ oral culture, social structure, religious beliefs, behaviour, view of “outsiders,” and response to stress and trauma as factors in the construction and interpretation of their ethnic identity.  I also consider the ways in which government officials, law enforcement officers, and media reporters both created and reflected the public’s understanding of who and what a Doukhobor was, and in turn, articulated the characteristics of the ideal Russian or Canadian citizen.  Spirit Wrestling contributes to our understanding of the tension multiethnic states face in trying to reconcile multiculturalism-as-policy with nation- or empire-building impulses.

In my next book project, Stalwart Peasants and their Stout Wives, I am exploring public responses to the Doukhobors’ subversion of Canadian gender role and relationship norms in order to highlight twentieth-century Canadians’ shifting attitudes towards a) marriage and sexuality and b) non-conformist ethnic minorities living at the edge of social acceptability.  While early twentieth-century Canadian gender ideals still restricted respectable middle-class women to the private sphere, Doukhobor women asserted their right to pull their weight in the economies of their families and communities, and raise their voices in protest when they felt that their right to religious freedom had been violated.  The physical size and strength of the Doukhobor women often inspired ridicule and disgust among Canadian observers.  Doukhobor men also challenged Canadian gender ideals: their pacifism challenged Canadian notions of masculinity, for example.  Doukhobor approaches to family formation (marriage and divorce) were also heavily scrutinized – and often challenged – by public officials and commentators.  Stalwart Peasants and their Stout Wives contributes to our understanding of diverse cultural constructions of gender roles, and the implications of that diversity for sexual unions and familial relationships.