Andrea Benoit receives award for Best Book in Canadian History

Andrea Benoit sitting in a chairFIMS alumna Andrea Benoit (PhD’14, Media Studies) has been awarded the 2021 CBHA/ACHA Award for Best Book in Canadian Business History for her publication VIVA M·A·C: AIDS, Fashion, and the Philanthropic Practices of M·A·C Cosmetics (published in 2019 by University of Toronto Press). Benoit has previously received acclaim for her work, also winning the 2020 National Business Book Award last year.

Drawing on research conducted while still a doctoral student, Benoit’s book examines corporate philanthropy through the lens of Canadian cosmetics company, MˑAˑC (Make-up Art Cosmetics). In the 1980s and 1990s, with the HIV/AIDS epidemic raging, MˑAˑC bucked the trend and aligned itself publicly with what at the time was a stigmatized cause. The company blazed new ground in corporate social responsibility and ultimately became one of Canada’s greatest business success stories.

The CBHA/ACHA Award for Best Book in Canadian Business History, announced in June by the Canadian Historical Association, is awarded by the Canadian Business History Association every other year, with winners being selected by a prize committee. In particular they look for books committed to innovative studies and pushing the boundaries of the discipline. The award includes a $10,000 prize.

Benoit’s book was also shortlisted over the summer for Heritage Toronto’s 2021 Book Award. Nominated works are assessed based on several criteria including advocacy, scholarship, education and production value.

“I’m so pleased that VIVA M·A·C has appealed to multiple audiences, whether academic communities in various disciplines beyond media studies including Canadian history, business, and queer studies, to organizations dedicated to preserving and celebrating local stories. It’s a testament to the book’s interdisciplinarity that it has resonated with different types of readers, and that is tremendously gratifying.”

While a doctoral student in FIMS, Benoit was supervised by Professor Daniel Robinson and she completed a thesis titled Face Value: Beyond the Surface of Brand Philanthropy and the Cultural Production of the M.A.C AIDS Fund. She currently holds an administrative position in the Office of the Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science at the University of Toronto. Benoit is currently working with a faculty partner at the Rotman School of Management on a Harvard Business Case Study based on VIVA M·A·C.