Call for Manuscripts: Environmental History and Studies in Failure with Concordia University Press

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With a recent report in Science indicating that North American bird populations have declined by more than one-quarter since 1970, and as the world’s climate continues to change in drastic ways, environmental history is more relevant as an area of inquiry than ever before.Canada’s newest scholarly publisher, Concordia University Press, is seeking works in environmental history that can help to form a public understanding of this country’s longstanding interventions into the ecosystems of the land, water, and air. Studies of conservation, protection, rehabilitation, and the rewilding of areas transformed by human influence are just as important as histories of the devastations wrought throughout Canada’s history as a resource-extraction economy.

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We hope that a few distinct features of our publishing program will appeal to scholars working in this discipline and its related areas. First, Concordia University Press has been founded as an open access press, a publication model that we are pleased to see is also supported by efforts at NiCHE. Our open access program will produce high-quality print editions available for sale and simultaneously publish free electronic editions available through platforms such as JSTOR, Project Muse, and Manifold. As such, we are committed to making important publications by expert scholars available to as many readers as possible. We hope that by making Concordia University Press publications available for free, our press can work with scholars to show that so much of Canadian history is environmental history and that the country cannot be understood without the study of the relationship between people and the environment.

Second, we have announced a publishing initiative called Studies in Failure with the expectation that works looking at the difficult and disappointing details relating to failure will reveal more complete pictures of the regions, sites, movements, forces, networks, and interests that influenced Canada’s past through to the present. We hope that by publishing works about collective and individual failures readers will gain insights into avoidable mistakes and improve restorative processes. This initiative is not the only thematic area in which Concordia seeks to publish, but we cannot help but think that the subject of failure would have specific contemporary resonance in environmental history given the worldwide failure to address climate change and the environmental catastrophes of which societies have long been aware. We anticipate that environmental history titles relating to Studies in Failure could address failures to communicate Canada’s long history of detrimental environmental impacts, and also respond to misinformation and misperceptions with substantiated scholarship.

Third, in addition to publishing comprehensive monographs and selective edited collections, the Press is also interested in publishing pamphlets. We envision these works as studies of a length that is between the narrow parameters of a twenty-page journal article or the expansive range of a monograph. This genre is an area that could be fruitful for works on specific case studies, microhistories, analyses of important environmental crossroads, and ecotones where the past and present meet. We hope the pamphlet genre can also open up a range of thoughtful opportunities for interventions or showcases of interesting and important research on urgent contemporary topics, unlikely historical events, and short-lived but significant social and political movements. For more information about Concordia University Press, please consult our website at Concordia.ca/press (ou en français à Concordia.ca/fr/presses). For inquiries about projects or for submitting proposals for consideration, please feel free to write to ryan.vanhuijstee@concordia.ca.

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Ryan Van Huijstee

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