Call for Contributors: RCMP at 150

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The North-West Mounted Police were established by the relatively new Dominion of Canada in May 1873. Initially an attempt to make sense of the massive, varied, and challenging geography of the Dominion, which had expanded dramatically after the purchase of Rupert’s Land from the Hudson’s Bay Company a few years prior, the North-West Mounted Police have environmental themes baked into their roots. Its was amalgamated with the Dominion Police, the Dominion’s federal law enforcement agency, in 1920 to form the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Not only have the Mounties, as they came to be called around the turn of the 20th century, been a relative through-line in Canadian history, but they have also been mobilized as a symbol of what it means to be Canadian. They have appeared in Hollywood films, cartoons, and in commemorative, parodic, and patriotic consumer culture of all sorts. Subsequently, the RCMP is a part of both “real” and “imagined” Canadian environments, shaping how Canada looks and feels at home and elsewhere.

“Rick the Proud Canadian Mountie” in a 2003 episode of South Park. Screenshot from Comedy Central.

NiCHE is seeking contributors for “RCMP at 150,” a series of blog posts that explores the past 150 years of mounted policing in Canada.  Intended to be something of a companion to 2020’s “HBC at 350” series, this series will interrogate the hand the RCMP has played in Canadian environments. How have the lands we currently refer to as Canada been “policed” by the Mounties? How has the RCMP’s presence (or absence) in certain environments affected how those environments have been perceived, and how did environments change due to that presence (or absence)? What can the RCMP as a policing body and as a symbol of Canada tell us about the priorities of the nation?

Themes for this series might include:

– NWMP/RCMP perceptions of environments over the past 150 year
– NWMP/RCMP on Indigenous land
– NWMP/RCMP and Canadian environments in popular culture
– NWMP/RCMP in urban environments
– NWMP/RCMP’s environments, such as stables and stations
– NWMP/RCMP’s role in the spatial aspects of Canadian history, such as the railroads

Posts need not necessarily adhere to these themes! We also have the capacity for alternative types of posts, such as interviews, video or audio, and photo-essays. Pitches will be accepted until April 15, 2023 with publication running through May. Send any pitches or queries to series editor Blair Stein (bstein AT clarkson DOT edu).

Cover Image: Rows of mounted RCMP officers, Rockcliffe, 1948. Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1971-271 NPC.
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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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