"What Are The Eastern Townships?"

Christopher Kirkey's picture
Call for Papers
October 25, 2017 to October 27, 2017
Subject Fields: 
Area Studies, Canadian History / Studies

"What Are The Eastern Townships?"




Proposals are due no later than February 28, 2017

Conference Dates: October 25-27, 2017

Venue: Bishop’s University, Sherbrooke, Quebec  


The Eastern Townships Resource Centre/Centre de resources pour l’étude des Cantons-de-l’Est (ETRC/CRCE) at Bishop’s University, in partnership with the Institute on Quebec Studies at State University of New York College at Plattsburgh, is pleased to announce an international scholarly conference.  This conference, which sets out to comprehensively examine and evaluate the Eastern Townships of Quebec, will be convened at Bishop’s University, from October 25-27, 2017.


Dr. Gordon Barker, (Associate Professor of History, and President of the ETRC/CRCE), Dr. Anthony Di Mascio (Associate Professor of Education, and ETRC/CRCE Board member), Dr. Cheryl Gosselin (Professor of Sociology, and ETRC/CRCE Board member), and Dr. Christopher Kirkey, (ETRC/CRCE Board member, and Director of the Center for the Study of Canada and Institute on Quebec Studies at SUNY Plattsburgh), will coordinate the conference. We enthusiastically invite submissions for scholarly papers from across the international community.  The deadline for proposals is February 28, 2017.


For over 30 years, the ETRC has been a recognized organization for the study of the Eastern Townships of Quebec. While its Archives Department concentrates on the acquisition of private archives related to the English-speaking community, the Centre’s mission, mandate and on-going activities are inclusive of all communities present in the Eastern Townships.


The mission of the Institute on Québec Studies, established in 2005, is to offer dynamic and meaningful Québec-focused curriculum, research and program initiatives.  The mandate of the Institute purposely acknowledges the central role of cross-border, local, regional, national and international audiences: “In recognition of the increasing prominence of Québec in New York, New England and the wider North American community, the Institute on Québec Studies at the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh serves as the gateway institution for the promotion of Québec Studies in the United States.  The Institute is committed to the visible development, expansion, and dissemination of Québec Studies among academic, business and government constituents.”


Focus of the Conference

The conference is open to all proposals exploring the theme "What Are the Eastern Townships?"  We invite single discipline, multidisciplinary, and comparative scholarly inquiries dedicated to defining, examining, and evaluating the Eastern Townships from anthropological, social, religious, linguistic, literary, cultural, educational, economic, historical, political, and geographical viewpoints.  Proposals providing new perspectives on the uniqueness of the Eastern Townships as a borderland space, a bridge between nations, communities, and peoples, and as a gateway between markets, are especially encouraged as are contributions advancing new scholarly approaches and interpretations that may enhance understanding of the Eastern Townships past, present, and future. 

What forces, historical and contemporary, are of paramount significance to our understanding of the foundations, evolution and current state of the Eastern Townships?  In what ways can the Eastern Townships be rightly regarded as an inclusive example to Quebec, Canada, and the international community?  What policies have characterized the Eastern Townships over the past 150 years?  Have these efforts fostered and expanded inclusivity or instead resulted in the creations of societal, political, and cultural boundaries?  How are we to understand the relationship between First Peoples and the Eastern Townships? To what extent, during the last 150 years, have the Eastern Townships evolved/emerged as a unique cultural, economic, environmental, and political borderland—at times even a bridge—between a distinct Quebec and the United States?  Have there over time been notable variations, across issues in how, where, and when the Eastern Townships has evolved?  What external forces – be they from Quebec, Canada, or the international community – have been of central importance to the narrative of the Eastern Townships? How has urbanity and the rural landscape changed over time?  What are the most pressing contemporary political, social, linguistic, demographic, educational and environmental issues confronting the Eastern Townships?

Conference Participation, Timing and Publications


If you are interested in submitting a proposal for the conference, please forward an abstract, not to exceed 300 words, to the conference conveners. Your submission should clearly state the central argument of the proposed paper, set out the theoretical approach, identify the empirical evidence to be examined, and provide a working title for the paper. In addition, we would ask that all submissions include a current curriculum vitae for the author(s).  Submissions should be sent electronically to the conference coordinators (gbarker@ubishops.ca, adimasci@ubishops.ca, cgosseli@ubishops.ca,  kirkeycj@plattsburgh.edu), no later than February 28, 2017. An academic panel will review all submissions, with decisions being made and individuals contacted by March 15, 2017.  A maximum of 25 proposals will be accepted for the conference. Invited participants will be provided with detailed guidelines for their papers (length, format, footnote/reference style requirements, etc.). 


Confirmed participants will be required to submit their draft contributions by September 1, 2017.   We intend to circulate all of the papers to all of the contributors in advance – by September 15, 2017, thereby allowing authors the opportunity to read the work of their colleagues. This conference is designed in such a way that we do not expect authors to 'present' their work in a traditional fashion. Rather, we are proposing that author(s) prepare and deliver a formal evaluative commentary on another paper. This paper will be identified by the conference conveners, and worked out in consultation with the authors.


As a practical matter, each of the panel sessions will include a formal commentary followed by a brief response by the author for each of the papers, followed by a general discussion involving all of the participants.  This model will allow us to keep the group small and focused and allow for maximum individual participation.

By the close of December 2017, contributors will be provided with a formal written evaluation/analysis of their contribution, reflecting the comments and suggestions of your assigned commentator as well as those of the conference coordinators, Drs. Barker, Di Mascio, Gosselin and Kirkey.  Contributors will have until March 15, 2018, to undertake any revisions and to electronically re-submit their papers.  Selected proceedings from the conference will be edited and published as a special thematic issue(s) of the Journal of Eastern Townships Studies/Revue d’études des Cantons-de-l’Est (JETS/RECE). 

JETS/RECE (http://www.etrc.ca/knowledge-transfer/jets.html), which features original scholarly articles in English and French, is a fully peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal published twice a year by the Eastern Townships Resource Centre (ETRC) at Bishop’s University.  Established in 1992, JETS/RECE serves to disseminate scholarly knowledge on topics specific to the Eastern Townships (most especially the Eastern Townships region and its inhabitants), and broader issues of significance to the Quebec community. Contributors are drawn from Quebec, across Canada and throughout the international community. The journal’s editorial and advisory committees reflect diverse disciplinary and professional perspectives.  

The conference coordinators further anticipate publishing a larger number of essays from the conference as an edited scholarly book with a leading university press.





Conference Support for Participants


To facilitate involvement in this project, the Eastern Townships Resource Centre/Centre de resources pour l’étude des Cantons-de-l’Est (ETRC/CRCE), and Institute on Quebec Studies, are pleased to be able to provide colloquium participants the following support:


  • an opening evening reception on Wednesday, October 25, 2017;
  • breaks, lunch, and dinner Thursday and Friday, October 26 & 27, 2017; and,
  • hotel lodging in Sherbrooke for three nights (arrival October 25, 2017 and departure on October 28, 2017) - a complimentary breakfast will be provided.


We trust that you will agree that this is an exciting initiative.  We encourage you to contact us with any inquiries you may have. We look forward to receiving your proposal!

Contact Info: 

Christopher Kirkey, Ph.D.

Center for the Study of Canada, 133 Court Street

Plattsburgh, NY USA 12901

Contact Email: