The entrance to the Department of History’s office in Sidney Smith Hall

The Other 60s: A Decade That Shaped Canada and the World

Start Date and Time:

Saturday, April 22, 2017, 9:00AM

End Date and Time:

Saturday, April 22, 2017, 5:00PM

In order to mark the 150th Anniversary of Confederation, on Saturday 22 April 2017 the Department of History will be hosting a day-long conference titled “The Other 60s: A Decade That Shaped Canada and the World.” The intent of the conference is to discuss the global context in which the Canadian federation emerged in the 1860s and, ultimately, provoke a larger public discussion.

Program for The Other 60s: A Decade that Shaped Canada and the World

9:00-10:00 a.m., Setting the Stage: Confederation in the Other 1860s

Heidi Bohaker & Paula Hastings (University of Toronto): The Broader Significance of the 1860s

Steve Penfold (University of Toronto): Why We Shouldn't Talk about Confederation in 2017

Brian Gettler (University of Toronto): Recolonizing Confederation: Indigenous Policy and the Making of Canada

10:15-11:30 a.m., Keynote: Aboriginal Engagement and Responses to Confederation, 1860s and Beyond

Jean Teillet, IPC, OMN:

We Get a Piece and We Get a Say: Approaching Confederation from the Perspective of the Métis Nation of the North-West

How Canada first approached and then bungled the incorporation of the North-West into Confederation; how the Métis forced better terms; and how Canada retaliated.  The 1860s were a brutal but honest preview of what life in Canada would be like for the Métis Nation.

11:45-12:30 p.m., Competing Visions: Making and Challenging the Dominion

 P.E. Bryden (University of Victoria): “Putting Flesh on the Bones”: The Meaning of the BNA Act in Confederation-Era Canada

Michel Hogue (Carleton University): Setting the Plains on Fire: How Indigenous Geo-Politics and the U.S.-Dakota War Shaped Canada's Westward Expansion

Lunch, 12:30-1:30 p.m.

1:30-2:30 p.m., Denominations and the Dominion: Religious Perspectives of Confederation

 Todd Webb (Laurentian University): Evangelicalism, Liberalism, and the Origins of the Lord’s Dominion in Mid-Nineteenth Century Canada

Mark McGowan (University of Toronto): Uncomfortable Pews: British North America’s Religious Groups Ponder Confederation

2:30-3:30 p.m., Confederation Conversations: Reaching Beyond Canadian Borders

Dan Sampson (Brock University): Cosmopolitanism in James Barry’s Diary: The Atlantic World Views of a 19th-Century Nova Scotia Miller

Brad Miller (University of British Columbia): British North America and International Law in the 1860s

3:45-4:45 p.m., Resistance and Revolutions: Struggles for Self-Determination in the Atlantic World

David Wilson (University of Toronto): Irish Nationalisms and Canadian Confederation

Melanie Newton (University of Toronto): A Tale of Two Empires: Race and Revolution in the 1860s Caribbean

4:45-5:45 p.m., Environmental and Economic Transformations

Bill Waiser (University of Saskatchewan): Our Country is No Longer Able to Support Us

Ruth Sandwell (University of Toronto): The 1860s and the Origins of Canada’s Transition to Fossil Fuels




  • Department of History

Contact Information

Heidi Bohaker and Paula Hastings


George Ignatieff Theatre, Trinity College, 15 Devonshire Place, Toronto, ON M5S 2C8 view full map




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A pencil drawing of the Fathers of Canadian Confederation gathering in a meeting room.
© Rogers Cantel. Source: Library and Archives Canada/C-006799