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Dr. Janis Thiessen

Janis Thiessen is Associate Director of the Oral History Centre, and an assistant professor of history at the University of Winnipeg, where she teaches business, food, and Canadian history. Her research interests include food history and oral history, as well as the 20th century history of business, labour, and religion.

Her book "Manufacturing Mennonites: Work and Religion in Post-War Manitoba" (University of Toronto Press, 2013) incorporates oral history interviews with workers, managers, and owners at three businesses founded, owned, and originally staffed by Mennonites: the printing firm Friesens Corporation, the window manufacturer Loewen, and the furniture manufacturer Palliser. The book pioneers two important new trajectories for scholarship - how religion can affect business history, and how class relations have influenced religious history.

Thiessen is currently completing a book based on her postdoctoral research: "Not Talking Union: The North American Mennonite Experience." This unconventional labour history incorporates more than 100 interviews she conducted in three Canadian provinces and three American states. In addition, she has a book under contract with University of Manitoba Press: "Project Wonka: A Canadian Snack Food History." This book is a business, labour, and social history (based in part on oral history interviews conducted by Thiessen) to examine the 20th and 21st century history of independently-owned (private) Canadian snack food manufacturers, their workers, and their consumers.

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