Workshop on "Borderlands, Transnationalism, and Migration in North America"

On October 19 and 20, York and the Department of History hosted an exciting workshop entitled “Borderlands, Transnationalism, and Migration in North America.” Over two days, twenty-five historians and historical geographers met at Glendon Manor to discuss pre-circulated papers. With the support of a SSHRC Connection Grant, York PhD candidate Ben Bryce, Alexander Freund at the University of Winnipeg, and our faculty colleague Prof. Roberto Perin brought in 18 faculty members, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students from the United States and Canada, and they were joined by five graduate students and two faculty members from Graduate History program. The goal of the event was to bring all twenty-five papers closer to publication, increase connections between universities, and to engage Canadianists and Americanists in a deeper scholarly dialogue.

The scholarly and collegial spirit that buoyed discussion in the five-person working group was, by all accounts, typical of other tables. The format was a novel experience for many, but certainly a valuable and effective one. Hats off to Ben Bryce for being the prime mover behind the whole operation and bringing added prestige to both department and grad program!

The workshop also included two public events. Erika Lee from the University of Minnesota gave a public lecture on her new research project entitled “Local, National, and Transnational Histories of the Americas.” This talk was followed up by a public roundtable entitled “The Mosaic vs. the Melting Pot? Myths and Realities of Cultural Pluralism in Canada and the United States.” Workshop participants David Atkinson (Purdue University), Grace Delgado (Penn State), and Randy Widdis (University of Regina) presented on their research and on these mythical ideologies in North America, as did York’s Associate Dean Patricia Wood and University of Toronto historian Russell Kazal. Both events were well attended, and the roundtable drew an audience of approximately 70 people.

You can watch the public lecture or the roundtable discussion by clicking here: http://borderlandsworkshop.wordpress.com/video-and-podcasts/

A particular word of thanks goes to to Daniel Ross (a PhD candidate in Graduate History program) for his help in organizing the workshop, Colin Coates and the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies for support throughout the project, and Laura Taman at the Robarts Centre for her ongoing support in administering the SSHRC grant. Further acknowledgment of sponsorship support also goes to the Office of the Principal, Glendon College; the York University Provost; the Dean of FGS; the Centre for Refugee Studies, and the Avie Bennett Historica Chair in Canadian History.