Canadian Nautical Research Society 2021 CFP and Awards

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The Canadian Nautical Research Society was formed in 1981 with the objectives:

  • to promote nautical research in Canada
  • to disseminate the results of such research
  • and to encourage an awareness of Canada’s maritime heritage

To this end, we hold conferences, publish the journal The Northern Mariner, and award prizes.

Canada’s Pacific Gateway, past present and future

The 2021 CNRS-SCRN Conference will be held Thursday 10 and Friday 11 June 2021, and the Annual General Meeting on Saturday 12 June 2021.

The Canadian Nautical Research Society/Société Canadienne Pour la Recherche Nautique will hold its annual conference 10-11 June 2021. The conference theme will be Canada’s Pacific Gateway, past present and future. Proposals are invited for papers or presentations related to the general theme of Canada’s wider Pacific Ocean dimensions or other maritime contemporary and historical topics. This will be a virtual conference to commemorate the 150th anniversary of British Columbia joining Canada, 25 July 1871. Presentations will be for a maximum of twenty minutes, followed by time for discussion. “New scholars” who present a paper may be eligible for $ 250 Gerald Panting Grant (details here, under awards).

Proposals should be sent by email no later than 15 March 2121 to either:

Michael Hadley:
or David Collins:

Please include your name, affiliation (if any) and title, and a brief description of 250 words or less. Abstracts for accepted papers will be published in the CNRS newsletter Argonauta prior to the conference. The Annual General Meeting of the society will be held virtually on Saturday 12 June 2021.


The CNRS awards the Gerald Panting Award for new scholars, as described above. It was decided to award the Panting differently this year as the Society frankly realizes the financial pressures that COVID has placed on students and the amount of funding available. We hope that dividing the prize will encourage more students to participate at our digital conference.

The CNRS has also chosen to award a prize annually named after Jacques Cartier, navigator of Saint-Malo, master mariner and explorer of France, who voyaged into the Gulf and River St. Lawrence which he named, and in three voyages traced details of a watery entry into the heart of a continent. From indigenous inhabitants he learned of the Ottawa River, the Great Lakes, and the possibility of a passage beyond that might lead to Cathay.

To encourage graduate studies at the Master’s level at Canadian universities and other institutes of higher learning, the Society intends to award this prize each year at its annual meeting. Areas of research include, but are not limited to, history, history of science and technology, political studies and political economy, literature, archaeology, underwater archaeology, anthropology, geography, sociology, ecology, and any other branch of historical learning related to human uses of the seas, oceans, rivers or lakes. Theses (including master’s research projects/MRPs, cognate papers, or extended research papers) that demonstrate inter-disciplinary approaches beyond history and the arts are encouraged.

Candidates must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents attending a Canadian university or institution of higher learning or a similar foreign institution, writing on a Canadian maritime topic. The thesis, cognate paper, or extended research paper must have been successfully completed and assessed, leading to successful completion of the degree in the previous calendar year (i.e., in 2020 for the prize awarded in 2021). A PDF copy of the thesis is to be submitted to the Society, to the e-mail address shown below, by 31 March of the year in which the prize is to be awarded.

Awarding the prize shall be at the discretion of the judges who may also award honourable mentions or choose to not make an award. The winning thesis will be added to the CNRS archives (at the discretion of the author). The judges may recommend publication of the award-winning thesis, in whole or in part, in The Northern Mariner, or other publication.

Applicants shall provide a cover letter that includes a brief biography (200-words), as well as mailing address, telephone number, and e-mail address. Additionally, a letter from the candidate’s supervisor or head of department in the university or institute in which the thesis is completed must confirm that the work has passed examination (noting the dates of submission and examination, and/or completion of the degree). The submitted thesis must demonstrate original research of an extended order and be at least 50 pages / 12,500 words in length.

The Society very much also encourages students who have completed their MA project broadly maritime/river/lakes/ponds subjects to enter for the award. Quite bluntly, we encourage those who are unsure whether their research is on topic to apply- we very much encourage a broader consideration of maritime history and nautical research

Submissions and nominations are to be made to:
The Chair of the Awards Committee
Canadian Nautical Research Society,
email address:

We would also very much encourage students to join the society. There are reduced membership rates for students and early career researchers, and also for those who prefer to receive the journal in PDF rather than in the mail.

Feature Image: Nautical chart of the Hamilton Inlet, Labrador, Canada. Compiled from sketch surveys by William Robinson, Midshipman, H.M.B. Pelter, Lieut R.C. Curry commanding, 1923; and by J.W. Reed, Master, H.M.S. Bulldog, under the orders of Capt. F. McClintock, 1860.
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Samuel McLean

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