Remaking North American Sovereignty: Towards a Continental History of State Transformation in the Mid-Nineteenth Century

2 12 2014

Remaking North American Sovereignty: Towards a Continental History of State Transformation in the Mid-Nineteenth Century


Date: July 30-August 1, 2015, at the Banff Centre in Banff, Alberta, Canada.


Description: This conference considers state making in mid-nineteenth century North America from a continent-wide perspective. Peaking in the years 1865-67 with the end of the American Civil War, Canadian Confederation, and the restoration of the Mexican republic after the expulsion of Maximilian, a French-imposed monarch, this era of political transformation has had profound consequences for the future of the continent.


Key to the reformulation of North American polities was the question of sovereignty, or the power to rule. Conflicts over sovereignty went well beyond the years 1865-67 and encompassed not only the political and diplomatic aspects of state making but also the broader social, economic, and cultural histories of this process.


Thus far, the continental dimensions of North American sovereignty have been obscured by historical traditions that confine each of these state-making conflicts within its specific national framework. In light of the global turn in 19th century historiography, as well as the real interconnections across the continent, it is time to consider these political crises as an inter-related struggle to redefine the relationship of North Americans to new governments.


Keynote addresses will be delivered by Professors Steven Hahn, University of Pennsylvania; Pekka Hämäläinen, Oxford University; Erika Pani, Colegio de Mexico; and Andrew Smith, University of Liverpool.



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