The ErieCanal@200: A Symposium Commemorating the Bicentennial of America’s Waterway

David Wittner's picture
Call for Papers
August 15, 2017
New York, United States
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, Economic History / Studies, Environmental History / Studies, History Education, Local History

Call for Papers


A Symposium Commemorating the Bicentennial of America’s Waterway

Crossing New York State from the Hudson River at Albany to Buffalo, the Erie Canal revolutionized transportation and trade almost as soon as it opened. The time it took to travel across the state declined from two or more weeks to a mere five days; towns, villages, and cities developed along its course, and the Empire State’s economy grew concomitantly. In addition to the Canal’s impact on the economy, it aided the spread of ideas—abolitionism, utopianism, religion, and women’s rights—across the state and beyond. Despite these benefits, issues such as the dislocation of indigenous populations, the spread of disease, and the Canal’s economic losers have received little attention.

On November 4, 2017, Utica College’s Center for Historical Research will host its sixth annual @Symposium—the Erie Canal@200—to commemorate and investigate the building of this marvel of engineering and symbol of progress and civilization. We intend to examine the history of the Erie Canal from diverse perspectives—cultural, economic, technological, political, environmental, and social. Our goal is to create a sustained dialog that will facilitate a greater understanding of the importance of the Canal and the world through which it flowed.


The Center for Historical Research invites paper submissions for ErieCanal@200. Rather than follow a typical conference format, we limit the number of presenters to between six and eight for the day. Each presenter will have one hour to deliver his or her work and exchange ideas with the audience. Our intention is for presenter and audience alike to gain a greater understanding of the significance of the Erie Canal and its environs.


Abstract Submission Guidelines

Abstracts may be submitted to The extended deadline for submissions is August 15, 2017.

Please limit abstracts to a 500-word description of your research/paper. We encourage submission of papers that not only challenge the orthodox narrative of the event, but that raise provocative questions and interpretations.

Those with accepted abstracts should confirm attendance by registering at the conference website Hotel accommodations will be provided for presenters for two nights.

Registration deadline for presenters is September 15, 2017. The registration deadline for other attendees is October 15, 2017.  Registration fees include meals and a post-symposium reception. Discounted hotel rooms are also available. Please see the symposium website for details. We will pre-circulate full-paper presentations among the presenters. Papers of approximately 20-30 minute delivery time should be submitted no later than October 15, 2017 to the organizers at Please direct questions and inquiries to

Contact Info: 

David Wittner

Director, Utica College Center for Historical Research


Contact Email: