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PURE Award winners 2014: Deanna Turner

Student's research shines light on little-known piece of Calgary's political past

By Heath McCoy
July 8, 2014 

Committed to a goal of research excellence with its bold Eyes High strategy, one of the University of Calgary’s most important initiatives is the Program for Undergraduate Research Experience, better known as PURE. 

Each year undergraduates can apply for the prestigious PURE Awards, which provide financial research support to some of the university’s most promising students over the Spring and Summer months. 

The program is designed to give undergraduate students the opportunity to learn how to develop research projects, undertake independent research and contribute to knowledge in their respective fields. 

In this Q&A series we will meet the PURE Award winners from the Faculty of Arts. Good luck to each of them in their research pursuits! 

Name Deanna Turner 

Degree sought Graduated with History Honours in June 2014

Research Topic Annie Gale Project

Supervisor Associate Professor Nancy Janovicek (History) 

What attracted you to this research project? “The University of Calgary’s Department of History has exceptional professors who specialize in gender history. They present topics through a new and interesting lens that seeks to challenge normative understandings of the past. These professors sparked my interest in gender history and Annie Gale stands as an excellent topic for historical inquiry.” 

Why is this research important? “Annie Gale was the first woman to serve as a municipal alderman in Canada when she won a seat in the 1917 Calgary Civic Election. The following year she was elected acting mayor of Calgary by her fellow members on city council and that was the first time a woman performed the duties of a mayor in Canada. Unfortunately, very little research has been done on this progressive western female figure. It is important to understand this woman, her actions and thoughts, if we wish to comprehend a critical part of Calgary’s political and progressive past. “ 

What do you hope to achieve with this research? – “My research is with the Annie Gale Project, a Calgary initiative now underway to recognize and honour the contribution made by Annie Gale. The project seeks to better understand the dilemmas and choices of the suffrage and post-suffrage generations in Calgary.” 

What do you love most about your field of study? – “I love history for the stories about people, places and ideas. Not only do they allow us passage into the thinking of long gone individuals, but they also help us to grasp past mentalities, worlds and different situations that can be like or unlike our own. We become connected in a spectrum of action and thought that requires from us, as the novel David Copperfield described it, ‘reading as if for life.’ This is not a pedantic or childish pursuit, but an arduous one that requires critical thinking, articulate expression and deep insight.”