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

27 05 2015

Banff, Alberta

AS: I’m going to be presenting at the RNAS conference in Banff this summer. I am sharing the programme here.

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

July 30-Aug. 1, 2015 at the Banff Centre

Banff, Alberta, Canada

Thursday, July 30, 2015

3:00-5:00 pm Registration, Banff Centre

5:30-6:30 pm Opening reception, Whyte Museum of the Rockies, Banff

6:30-8:45 pm Keynote Session I, Whyte Museum of the Rockies, Banff. This event is free and open to the public.

  • Andrew Smith, University of Liverpool, “Confederation as a Hemispheric Anomaly: Why Canada Choose to Remain a Colony”
  • Steven Hahn, University of Pennsylvania, “The United States from the Inside Out and the Southside North”
  • Comment: Thomas Bender, New York University
  • Moderator: Frank Towers

Friday July 31, 2015

8:00-8:45 am Publishing Transnational History: Breakfast roundtable with Susan Ferber, Editors, Executive Editor for America and World History, Oxford University Press and Len Husband, Acquisitions Editor, University of Toronto Press.

9:00-11:15 am Plenary session I: States

Pre-circulated papers to be discussed in roundtable/seminar format). Plenary session papers will be securely made accessible to participants and registered attendees through the conference website ( as of July 2, 2015.

  • Rachel St. John, Harvard University, “Alternative Nations and the History of State and Nation-Building in Nineteenth-century North America”
  • Gregory Downs, City College & Graduate Center, CUNY, “The Age of North American Revolution: Rethinking the 1850s and 1860s as a Revolutionary Wave”
  • Marcela Terrazas, UNAM, “Indian Raids within Northern Mexico, Conflicts with the American Government and the Construction of Mexican Sovereignty”
  • Susan-Mary Grant, Newcastle University, “‘Universal Yankee Nation’: Securing the Soldiers’ State in Nineteenth-Century America”
  • Philip Buckner, University of New Brunswick, “’British North America and a Continent in Dissolution, 1861-1871′: The role of the American Civil War in the making of Canadian Confederation”
  • Comment: Jeffrey McNairn, Queen’s University
  • Moderator: Nancy Janovicek, University of Calgary

11:30-12:45 pm Lunch

1:00-3:00 pm

Panel 1: Slavery

  • Anthony E. Kaye, Penn State University, “Federalism, Slavery, and Antislavery in American Empire”
  • John Craig Hammond, Penn State University, “Slavery, Sovereignty, and Empire in the North American Borderlands, 1840 – 1861”
  • Alice L. Baumgartner, Yale University, “Fugitive Slaves, Free Soil, and the Contest over Sovereignty in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, 1829-60”
  • Comment: Lynn Kennedy, University of Lethbridge
  • Moderator:  Joseph Anderson, Mount Royal University, Calgary

Panel 2: Borderlands

  • Martín González de la Vara, El Colegio de Michoacán, “Changing Borders and Sovereignties: the Bi-National Region of El Paso, 1850-1871”
  • Ryan Hall, Yale University, State-Making in a Fur Trade World:
Divergent Sovereignties on the Northwest Plains, 1855-1877
  • James Nichols, City University of New York, Queensborough Community College, “Ephemeral Sovereignty and Elite Cooperation: Border Crossers in the era of La Reforma and the French Intervention”
  • Comment: Amie Kiddle, University of Calgary
  • Moderator: George Colpitts, University of Calgary

3:00-3:15 pm Break

3:15-5:15 pm

Panel 3: Filibustering

  • Amy S. Greenberg, Penn State University, “Walker to Riel: Empire on the Margins”
  • Benjamin Johnson, Loyola University Chicago, “Reconstructing North America: Borderlands in the Age of National Consolidation”
  • Beau Cleland, University of Calgary, “Hiding in Plain Sight: The Confederate Diplomatic-Commercial Network in the British Colonies”
  • Comment: Adam Rothman, Georgetown University
  • Moderator: Elizabeth Jameson, University of Calgary

Panel 4: Divided Sovereignty

  • Jane Dinwoodie, University of Oxford, “Beyond Removal: Indians, States and Sovereignties in the American South”
  • Robert Bonner, Dartmouth College “North America’s Federative Moment: Capitals and Borders Across the Short 1860s”
  • Andrew L. Slap, East Tennessee State University, “The Multiple Divisions of Sovereignty”
  • Comment: Paul Quigley, Virginia Tech University
  • Moderator: Lyndsay Campbell, University of Calgary

6:15-8:30 pm. Dinner & Keynote Session II

  • Erika Pani, Colegio de Mexico, “‘Political crimes are, perhaps, not crimes at all’: Allegiance and Sovereignty during Civil War, Mexico, 1857-1867”
  • Pekka Hämäläinen, University of Oxford, “The Industrial East, the Nomadic West, and the Search for Sovereignty in the Heart of the Continent”
  • Comment: Elliot West, University of Arkansas
  • Moderator: William Blair, Pennsylvania State University, George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center

Saturday, August 1, 2014

9:00-11:15 am.

Plenary session II, Sovereignty.

Pre-circulated papers to be discussed in roundtable/seminar format. Plenary session papers will be securely made accessible to participants and registered attendees through the conference website ( as of July 2, 2015.

  • Jay Sexton, University of Oxford, “Steam Transport and the Remaking of Sovereignty”
  • Brian Delay, University of California, Berkeley, “The Civil War Arms Frenzy and the Ascent of State Sovereignty in North America”
  • Christopher Clark, University of Connecticut, “Political, Financial, and Popular Sovereignty in Agrarian North America, 1850s-1890s.”
  • Mary P. Ryan, Johns Hopkins University, “City Sovereignty in Mexico and the United States 1846-1865”
  • María Dolores Ballesteros Páez, Postdoctoral Fellow CH-CIALC-UNAM, “Indigenous population in the Mexican, U.S. and Canadian congressional debates and bills in the consolidation of the new national states, 1865-1867”
  • Comment: Bruce Levine, University of Illinois
  • Moderator: Hendrik Kraay, University of Calgary

11:30-12:45 pm Lunch

1:00-3:00 pm

Panel 5: Rebel States

  • Arielle Gorin, Yale Unversity, “Samandlin’s Grave: Stories, Sovereignty, and the Contest for the Tsilhqot’in Homelands”
  • Stephen Neufeld, California State University, Fullerton, “A War of Savagery and Sovereignty: Seeking Power over Mexico’s Indigenous Margins, 1860-1910”
  • Caleb McDaniel, Rice University, “Beyond Failure: Rethinking the Afterlives of Confederate State Policies on its Western Frontier”
  • Comment: Sheila McManus, University of Lethbridge
  • Moderator: Jewel Spangler, University of Calgary

Panel 6:  Race and Empire

  • Michael Vorenberg, Brown University, “Anti-Imperialism and the Elusive End of the American Civil War”
  • Karl Jacoby, Columbia University, “Reconstructing Race and Nation: The U.S. and Mexico, 1849-1925”
  • Andres Resendez, University of California, Davis, “The Other Slavery and the Other Emancipation”
  • Comment: Christopher Phillips, University of Cincinnati
  • Moderator: Stephen Randall, University of Calgary

3:00-3:15 pm Break

3:15-5:15 pm

Panel 7: Transnational histories

  • Brian Schoen, Ohio University, “Reform Wars, Royal Visits, and US Views of Popular Sovereignty in 1860”
  • Patrick J. Kelly, The University of Texas at San Antonio, “The Lost Continent of Abraham Lincoln”
  • Pablo Mijangos CIDE (Mexico City), “The Holy See and the North American Civil Wars”
  • Comment: Marc Egnal, York University
  • Moderator: David Marshall, University of Calgary

Panel 8: Contemporary Comparisons

  • Marise Bachand, Universtié du Québec á Trois-Riviéres, “Créoles and Canadiennes at the Intersection of Nations, States, and Empires, 1830-1890”
  • John W. Quist, Shippensburg University, “’A Long Cherished Plan’: Detroit and the US Dream of Canadian Annexation during the Nineteenth Century”
  • David T. Gleeson, Northumbria University, “‘Shall we sink to the Helpless Condition of Ireland in the British Parliament?’: Britain, Ireland and Confederate Concepts of National Sovereignty”
  • Comment: Ryan Keating, California State University, San Bernadino
  • Moderator: TBA

5:25-5:40 pm Closing remarks: Frank Towers, University of Calgary

*This conference is sponsored by the George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center at Penn State University and supported by the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies at Virginia Tech University and the following academic units at the University of Calgary: the Department of History; the Centre for Military, Security, and Strategic Studies; the Faculty of Arts; the Latin America Research Centre; and the Office of the Vice President for Research. Support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada is pending.



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