• There was no Seigneurial System

    Allan Greer From elementary school books to encyclopedia entries to scholarly treatises, no work on New France is complete without a section on the “seigneurial system,” a phenomenon that supposedly shaped the agrarian society of this colony and set it apart from other colonial settlements.[1] Imposed upon Canada by absolutist France, so the story goes,… Continue Reading

  • Francophone Quebecers in Canada’s Odyssey: Pillar or Passengers?

    Peter H. Russell’s Canada’s Odyssey is a sweeping reconsideration of the foundations of Canada’s constitutional order that has garnered considerable attention and praise. This essay is the second in a three-part series assessing the book’s significance. Donald Fyson My comments focus on the pre-Confederation chapters of Peter Russell’s Canada’s Odyssey. I’ll concentrate on Quebec and… Continue Reading

  • Hope and Despair in the Meghalayan Age

    Gregory Kennedy Note: This is the fourth in a series on environmental history and early modern history cross-posted with  NiCHE, the Network in Canadian History & Environment. Life as an academic often feels like constant movement between hope and despair. Hope that our research will have an impact, and be accepted our peers … despair at the latest… Continue Reading

  • New France and Indigenous Agency in the Hudson Bay Watershed

    Scott Berthelette Throughout the 1730s and 1740s, the French established a series of forts northwest of Lake Superior in present-day Northwestern Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Minnesota, and North Dakota. French colonial officials hoped that these postes de l’Ouest, or Western Posts, would secure New France’s pick of prime northern furs, which would undermine the English dominance… Continue Reading

  • Early Canadian Environmental History: A Forum

    Editor’s note: This is the final post in a joint series of posts on early Canadian environmental history by The Otter~La loutre and Borealia. The entire series is available here. After providing posts for the early Canadian environmental history series, the three participants – Colin Coates, Jason Hall, and Anya Zilberstein – sat down at… Continue Reading

  • Who was the King of the Beasts in New France?

    Colin M. Coates Some species are better to “think” with than others. Environmental activists often draw attention to their causes through reference to “flagship” or “charismatic” species. Invocations of the threatened habitat of the marbled murrelet helped galvanize opposition to logging in the Pacific Northwest in the 1990s, just as the Kermode bear subspecies has… Continue Reading