The Dominion of Nature: Environmental Histories of the Confederation Era

21 10 2013

How did nature figure into Canadian Confederation? From its creation in 1867 through a series of subsequent expansions, Canada swiftly became one of the largest nations in the world. Ideas about scale, resources, property, mobility, and environment certainly figured into the nation’s consolidation and articulation, yet rarely do such topics appear in histories of the Confederation era. And conversely, “Confederation” does not appear in the index of three recently-published Canadian environmental history surveys. Bringing the methods, practices, and sources of environmental history to bear on the standard Canadian history narrative may well enrich not only that narrative but also the emerging national environmental history one.

In time for the sesquicentennial of the 1864 Charlottetown Conference that was a first step to Confederation, NiCHE: Network in Canadian History & Environment / Nouvelle initiative canadienne en histoire de l’environnement and the University of Prince Edward Island are hosting “The Dominion of Nature: Environmental Histories of the Confederation Era,” a workshop to be held in Charlottetown, PEI on 31 July and 1 August 2014. Participants will workshop pre-circulated essays, moving toward the publication of an edited collection by 2016.

We are seeking proposals from scholars of all ranks and disciplines writing on any topic related to Canadian nature (whether colonial, provincial, regional, or national; urban, rural, or wild; perceptions or practices) and the Confederation era (approximately 1860-1880). If interested in participating, please provide a 500-word abstract of a proposed essay and a 1-2 page CV on a single PDF attachment to Alan MacEachern at by 15 December 2013. Participants will be notified by 15 January 2014, and complete drafts of essays (approximately 5000-7000 words) will be required for circulation by 15 June. A travel subsidy, meals, and accommodations will be provided by NiCHE and UPEI. There will also be a field trip for all participants.

Alan MacEachern, History, Western, & Director, NiCHE,, and
Edward MacDonald, History, UPEI,



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