Call for Contributors: HBC at 350

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The Hudson’s Bay Company was incorporated in 1670 and is the oldest continually-operating commercial enterprise in North America. At various times a scientific, commercial, diplomatic, and environmental management enterprise, “The Bay,” as those of us who grew up in the latter half of the 20th century call it, has been far from peripheral to what it means to be Canada and Canadian. From its seventeenth and eighteenth-century origins in the fur trade and exploration to its nineteenth-century role in the admission of Manitoba into Confederation to its contemporary status as a retailer of “iconic” striped blankets and Team Canada Olympic gear, the Hudson’s Bay Company can tell us a lot about the contours of Canadian history. Given how the HBC’s alleged mastery of space and natural resources is often centered in popular narratives of Canadian history, it can also tell us a lot about what the environment means in Canadian history.

NiCHE is seeking contributors for “HBC at 350,” a series that explores the past three-and-a-half centuries of the Hudson’s Bay Company through an environmental lens. We’re inviting submissions of 500-1000 words that explore any one or combination of the following:

  • HBC and “staples”
  • HBC and environmental stewardship
  • HBC and scientific networks
  • HBC and “the North”
  • HBC and Indigeneity
  • HBC and consumption
  • HBC and Canadian symbology
Shopping for HBC “point blankets,” 1949. National Film Board of Canada.

Submissions need not adhere strictly to these themes! We’re also interested in alternative forms of storytelling about the HBC, including interviews, videos, and photo-essays. Pitches will be accepted until October 1st 2020, with publication dates through November and December. Interested? Email Blair Stein (bstein @ clarkson . edu) for more information, to ask questions, or to pitch.

Feature Photograph: Hudson’s Bay Company officials in an express canoe crossing a lake, c 1825. Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. R9266-346 Peter Winkworth Collection of Canadiana.

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Blair Stein

I am Assistant Professor of History at Clarkson University in northern New York State. I teach history of science and technology and environmental history, and I write about the links between geography, technology, and modernity in twentieth-century Canada, with a special interest in aviation.


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