CFP: Undiplomatic History: Rethinking Canada in the World

We’re pleased to share the following Call for Papers from our friends at the L.R. Wilson for Canadian History at McMaster University. 

RC0427_001A Workshop in Canadian International History
The L.R. Wilson Institute for Canadian History, McMaster University
28-29 April 2017

Deadline for Proposals: 30 Sept. 2016

Two trends have defined the historical study of Canada in the world over the past few decades. On the one hand, histories that range outside of Canada’s borders have abounded, including new transnational, imperial, and globally comparative approaches. On the other, international history, the sub-field that has traditionally considered Canada’s global relationships within a state-centric framework, has experienced a period of relative neglect, due to the ‘history wars’, and, relatedly, to a reticence to move beyond the narrow, sclerotic boundaries of diplomatic history. Over the past decade, however, a new international history has emerged in Canada that includes new lenses of historical analysis, such as race, gender, political economy, identity, religion, and the environment; new geographical areas beyond Western Europe and the United States; and a new emphasis on the importance of non-state actors, including scientists, athletes, students, and activists. When this new international history is considered in unison with developments in transnational, imperial, and comparative history, Canada in the World is proving to be a vibrant area of research. The time has come, then, to take stock of such changes and to consider what these new directions in Canadian international history mean for the study of Canada more generally.

Hosted by the L.R. Wilson Institute for Canadian History at McMaster University from 28-29 April 2017, the Undiplomatic History: Rethinking Canada in the World workshop, organized by Asa McKercher and Phil Van Huizen, will showcase the very best of the new work being done in Canadian international history by bringing together previously disparate and new approaches to the field and putting them in conversation with other ways of investigating Canada’s history. A select number of papers will be forwarded for the consideration of the editors of the L.R. Wilson Rethinking Canada in the World Series with McGill-Queen’s University Press in a volume that will stand as a toolkit for international history in Canada.

At this stage we invite proposals of 250 words by 30 September. Invitations to present at the symposium will be issued in October 2016. Given that the workshop will involve discussing papers in depth, participants will be required to submit papers by 31 March to allow for pre-circulation. After the symposium the organizers will select papers to be considered for publication.

In their papers, authors should focus on how their case studies can push forward the boundaries of Canadian international history. They should also take note of how their topic informs debates surrounding domestic themes and issues in Canadian history, thus making clear the holistic nature of the study of Canada in the World.

In addition, the organizers are especially interested in papers addressing one or more of the following thematic questions:

• To what extent have a wider array of actors beyond the state shaped Canadian foreign relations?
• How have human-environment relationships in Canada played out at international scales?
• What are the patterns and divergences between Indigenous-Canadian relations and Canada’s response to global colonization and decolonization?
• How have ‘empires’ and imperial dynamics shaped and been manifested throughout the history of Canada and the world?
• How have understandings of modernity, development, realism, and liberal internationalism driven Canada’s relationships abroad?
• How have the cultural and transnational turns affected understandings of Canada’s international relations?
• How have new developments in military history and/or critical assessments of Canada’s peacemaking past affected our understanding of Canada’s international history?
• How have Canadians remembered past events in international affairs, and how do these memories affect debates about present issues?
• Taking account of new trends in Canadian political history, to what extent is Canadian foreign policy simply “domestic politics with its hat on”?

The symposium will also include a roundtable, during which invited speakers will present their views on Canada as seen through international, imperial, global, and transnational perspectives.

The Wilson Institute will provide assistance towards lodging and travel re-imbursement for accepted speakers.

Deadline for proposals: 30 September 2016

Applicants should submit their proposals and a one-page CV to the L.R. Wilson Institute for Canadian History with the subject line Undiplomatic History to:



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