Ian Mosby is an award winning author and historian of food, Indigenous health and the politics of settler colonialism. He has a PhD in History from York University and is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU). His current research explores the history of human biomedical experimentation on Indigenous peoples during the second half of the twentieth century.

He has published widely on topics ranging from the history of monosodium glutamate (MSG) and anti-Chinese racism to the long-term health impacts of hunger and malnutrition in residential schools. His research has made national headlines on a number of occasions and, in August 2016, he was named one of the 53 most influential people in Canadian food by the Globe and Mail.

Ian’s first book, Food Will Win the War: The Politics, Culture and Science of Food on Canada’s Home Front was published by UBC Press in 2014. Food Will Win the War was awarded the 2015 Political History Book Prize by the Canadian Historical Association and, in 2016, was shortlisted for a Canada Prize in the Humanities by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

His most recent book, Uncertain Harvest: The Future of Food on a Warming Planet (with Sarah Rotz and Evan Fraser), was published by University of Regina Press in the Summer of 2020.

Since 2019, Ian and his TMU colleague Eva Jewell have been publishing annual Calls to Action Accountability reports for the Yellowhead Institute. These reports track Canada’s progress towards completing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 94 Calls to Action. Click here to find the most recent as well as past reports.

If you want to get in touch, you can email Ian at ian.mosby (at) ryerson.ca.

Selected Publications:

(with Eva Jewell) “Calls To Action Accountability: A 2021 Status Update On Reconciliation,” Yellowhead Institute Special Report, December 2021.

(with Rachel Engler-Stringer and Sara Kirk) “Meeting the Recommendations Outlined in Canada’s New Food Guide Through a National School Food Program,” in Mustafa Koc, Jennifer Sumner, and Anthony Winson, eds. Critical Perspectives in Food Studies, 3rd Edition (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2021), 349-361.

(with Erin Millions) “Canada’s Residential Schools Were a Horror,” Scientific American, 1 August 2021.

(with Jaris Swidrovich) “Medical Experimentation and the Roots of COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Among Indigenous Peoples in Canada,” Canadian Medical Association Journal, 15 March 2021 193 (11) E381-E383.

(with Eva Jewell) “Calls To Action Accountability: A 2020 Status Update On Reconciliation,” Yellowhead Institute Special Report, December 2020.

(with Catherine Carstairs) “Colonial Extractions: Oral Health Care and Indigenous Peoples in Canada, 1945–79,” Canadian Historical Review, 101, no. 2 (June 2020): 192–216.

(with Chandra Maracle) “The Mush Hole: Colonial Food Legacies among the Haudenosaunee—An Indigenous-Settler Dialog Between Chandra Maracle and Ian Mosby,” in Earth to Table Legacies.

(with Sarah Rotz and Evan Fraser) Uncertain Harvest: The Future of Food on a Warming Planet, Regina: University of Regina Press, 2020. 

In Memory of the Life and Work of Gina Feldberg,Canadian Bulletin of Medical History 37, no. 1 (2020): 14-18.

(with Sarah Rotz) “As Meat Plants Shut down, COVID-19 Reveals the Extreme Concentration of Our Food Supply,Globe and Mail, 29 April 2020 

(with Eva Jewell) “Calls To Action Accountability: A Status Update On Reconciliation” Yellowhead Institute Policy Briefs, Issue 44 (Dec 16, 2019).

(with Sarah Rotz et al.) “Automated pastures and the digital divide: How agricultural technologies are shaping labour and rural communities.” Journal of Rural Studies 68 (2019): 112-122.

(with Sarah Rotz et al.) “The Politics of Digital Agricultural Technologies: A Preliminary Review.” Sociologia Ruralis 59, no. 2 (2019).

(with Catherine Carstairs) “Federal Policies Undermine Indigenous Dental Health,” Policy Options, 5 October 2018.

Anti-Know-Nothings and Great Unknowns: The bittersweet lure of culinary nostalgia,” Literary Review of Canada 25, 9 (December 2017), 25-27.

(with Aylan Couchie) “Anti-seal hunt rhetoric ignores facts and suppresses Indigenous culture,” Globe and Mail, 12 October 2017.

(with Tracey Galloway) “‘Hunger was never absent’: How residential school diets shaped current patterns of diabetes among Indigenous peoples in Canada,” Canadian Medical Association Journal 189, 32 (14 August 2017), E1043-E1045.

(with Tracey Galloway) “‘The abiding condition was hunger’: Assessing the Long-term Biological and Health Effects of Malnutrition and Hunger in Canada’s Residential Schools,” British Journal of Canadian Studies: Special Issue on Health and Residential Schools 30, 2 (September 2017), 147-162.

Canada 150 and the Truth About Reconciliation,” Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Monitor 23, 7 (May/June 2017), 43-5.

We are what we ate: Canada’s history in cuisines,” Globe and Mail, 13 March 2017.

Clearing the Plains and Changing the National Conversation: James Daschuk’s Clearing the Plains as a Work of Popular and Public History,” Journal of the Canadian Historical Association 26, 2 (2016), 53-59.

Eat your primary sources! Researching and teaching the taste of history,” in Jocelyn Thorpe, Stephanie Rutherford & L. Anders Sandberg, eds. Methodological Challenges in Nature-Culture and Environmental History Research (New York: Routledge, 2016), 164-170.

Guest Editor (with Catherine Carstairs), “Foodscapes of Plenty and Want: Historical Perspectives on Food, Health and the Environment in Canada,” Special Issue of The Canadian Bulletin of Medical History/Bulletin canadien d’histoire de la médecine, 32, 2 (Fall 2015).

Victory Gardening,” in The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Canada, 22 Sept. 2015.

The Forgotten Parts of Food Culture: Unpaid Labour and Drudgery,” 49th Shelf, 10 July 2015.

(with Crystal Fraser) “Setting Canadian History Right?: A Response to Ken Coates’ ‘Second Thoughts about Residential Schools’” ActiveHistory.ca, 7 April 2015.

Food Will Win the War: The Politics, Culture and Science of Food on Canada’s Home Front. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2014. [Awarded Canadian Historical Association 2015 Political History Book Prize and Shortlisted for the Canada Prize in the Humanities]

Administering Colonial Science: Nutrition Research and Human Biomedical Experimentation in Aboriginal Communities and Residential Schools, 1942-1952Histoire sociale/Social History XLVI, 91 (Mai/May 2013), 615-642. [Republished in Mona Gleason and Tamara Meyers, eds. The Difference Kids Make: Bringing Children and Childhood into Canadian History. Toronto: UTP, 2016.]

Making and Breaking Canada’s Food Rules: Science, the State, and the Government of Nutrition, 1942-1949,” in F. Iacovetta, M. Epp and V. Korinek, eds., Edible Histories, Cultural Politics: Towards a Canadian Food History (Toronto: UTP, 2012), 409-432.

History in Grease Stains and Pencil Marks,” The Globe and Mail, 29 September 2012, F7.

Food on the Home Front During the Second World War,” in Jonathan Vance and Graham Broad, eds., WartimeCanada.ca: A window into the Canadian experience during the world wars.

Ethnic Food Fears and the Spread of the Chinese Restaurant Syndrome in Canada, 1968-80,” Culinary Chronicles: The Newsletter of the Culinary Historians of Canada, No. 62 (Spring 2012), 2-4.

‘That Won Ton Soup Headache’: The Chinese Restaurant Syndrome, MSG and the Making of American Food, 1968-1980,” Social History of Medicine, Vol. 22, No. 1 (April 2009), 133-151. [Awarded 2010 Nicholas C. Mullins Prize]