Crossroads: Scholarship in an Uncertain World

Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo, May 28-30, 2012

Deadline to Submit Your Proposal: Wednesday, October 19, 2011

In 2012, we will observe the bicentennial of the War of 1812, and the centennials of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, the election of Woodrow Wilson as president of the United States, the formation of the African National Congress, the creation of the Republic of China, the tragic 1912 Arctic expedition of Russia’s Georgy Brusilov, the onset of the first Balkan War, the implementation of Regulation 17 in Ontario schools, and the Regina Cyclone (tornado) which killed 28 and left 2500 homeless. Each of these events shaped our world. As historians, our task is to explain, interpret, and re-interpret them for contemporary audiences. This brief list, however, represents just a fraction of the transformative events of the past that have substantially altered the course of history.

Are we currently standing at a key juncture in historical scholarship? Has our world become substantially more uncertain over the past centuries? What role will history play in the 21st century? Will technological change spell the end of traditional forms of teaching and scholarship? For historians change and continuity represent the fundamental building blocks of our discipline. We ask vital questions about the past in order to determine not only what has changed and why it changed, but also what has not changed and why it remains the same. Are we truly at a crossroads in terms of the future of the nation-state, the environment, human survival, social structures, global economics and ideological polarization? If so, what ‘lessons’ can be drawn from studying similar moments in the past? Our challenge is to demonstrate the relevance of history to society now and for the future.

The Programme Committee for the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Historical Association invites proposals in English and in French from scholars working in any discipline, in any field, and in any era that addresses the conference theme. We also welcome proposals that do not specifically address the theme.

The Programme Committee strongly encourages panel submissions of three papers and a facilitator, although panel submissions may be reorganized if necessary. We also welcome proposals or inquiries for other session formats including roundtables, film screenings, websites, podcasts, and posters.

You are invited to submit a 250-word proposal and a one-page curriculum vitae (in PDF format), as well as your contact information to Heather MacDougall, Programme Committee Chair, at

Please note that presenters must be members of the Canadian Historical Association.