Canada's Military-Industrial Complex

Alex Souchen's picture
Type: 
Call for Papers
Date: 
July 18, 2019 to October 1, 2019
Location: 
Ontario, Canada
Subject Fields: 
Business History / Studies, Canadian History / Studies, Environmental History / Studies, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, Military History

Call for Chapter Proposals: Canada's Military-Industrial Complex

The “military-industrial complex” (MIC) is defined as an informal alliance between a nation’s military and defence industries. The term gained popularity following President Dwight Eisenhower’s farewell address in January 1961 in which he warned Americans about the powerful “conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry” and its potential for acquiring “unwarranted influence” in government.

As the Cold War demand for military equipment and nuclear weapons intensified, national security concerns prompted large-scale expenditures in technological innovation and the unprecedented expansion of American military power. Deep political and economic ties between the U.S. military and high-tech corporations fostered a permanent state of wartime readiness that has transformed the American way of life in myriad ways. Just as Eisenhower feared, the reach and influence of the American defence industry only grew stronger in the last half of the twentieth century, reshaping events within and beyond the U.S. borders.

Today, the military-industrial complex is deeply rooted in historical and contemporary scholarship about the political, economic, social, and environmental fabric of the United States. Eisenhower’s words spurred immediate and long-lasting debate among American academics. Critics have charged the military with creating a warfare state, while others have pointed to the civilian applications of military research and development (R&D) to justify the American defence establishment. As declassification brings new documents to light, the field continues to grow and scholars in the U.S. gain deeper insights into the influence of defence spending on the modern nation-state and its citizens.

But is the military-industrial complex unique to the United States? Taking inspiration from the international literature, this edited volume seeks to examine the MIC by focusing on a country and population not commonly associated with it: Canada. We are seeking chapters that will highlight and interrogate a wide range of topics surrounding a common set of themes and questions, many of which are identified below. The overarching goal of the project is to explore the ways in which the military and national security establishment have influenced Canada politically, economically, socially, and environmentally throughout the twentieth century.

The following list of key questions and topics could form the core of this edited volume. The list is by no means exhaustive, but all proposals should speak to at least one of the following core themes: 1) the origins and growth of Canada’s military-industrial complex; 2) the militarization of science, technology, and industry in Canada; 3) the political and economic ties between the Canadian military and industry; 4) the social and environmental legacies of military activities.

Chapter proposals should consist of a 250-word abstract, prospective title, and one-page CV. In your abstract, please briefly discuss the sources, argument, and methodological approach that will guide your analysis. The deadline for proposal submissions is October 1, 2019. Contributing authors will be notified by October 31, 2019 and first drafts will be due February 15, 2020. Please email proposals and queries to volume editors Dr. Alex Souchen (rsouchen@uwo.ca) and Dr. Matthew S. Wiseman (mwisem2@uwo.ca).

Political/Economic  

  • What role has the Department of National Defence (or other federal departments) played in the expansion and growth of Canadian defence industries?
  • Has a MIC affected Canadian foreign policy?
  • How has the Canadian government financed a MIC?
  • How have Canadian politicians responded to the lobbying efforts of the defence industry?
  • How have Canada’s procurement policies for major weapon systems changed over time?
  • What role have provincial governments played in the MIC?
  • How has Canada’s atomic energy and nuclear weapons policies impacted the MIC?
  • How have NATO and other alliances influenced Canada’s MIC?
  • How has Canada’s defence industry affected the Canadian economy?
  • Have defence industries and infrastructure development affected Canada regionally?
  • How has the Canadian economy contributed to the global arms trade?
  • How has the phenomenon of “defence dependency” impacted communities and regions?
  • Is there a military-industrial-academic complex in Canada?
  • What do the financial ties among high-tech industries, aerospace companies, and the Department of National Defence suggest about a MIC in Canada?
  • How has the defence industry exerted influence over Canadian defence policies?
  • What agency do corporations have in Canada’s MIC?
  • How has foreign investment shaped Canadian procurement programs?

Social/Environmental

  • What are the costs and benefits of the MIC for Canadian citizens?
  • Has the MIC created a permanent security state in Canada?
  • Has the MIC exacerbated racial, gender, linguistic, labour, and class divisions in Canada?
  • How has the MIC influenced Canada demographically?
  • Have Canadians protested the MIC? What has resistance achieved?
  • How has the MIC contributed to the colonization and dispossession of Indigenous peoples, lands, and resources?
  • How can a Canadian MIC be reconciled with Canada’s role in peacekeeping missions?
  • What impact has the MIC had on the Canadian environment?
  • Have remediation efforts cleaned up the pollution of R&D or other military activities?
  • How have defence industries transformed resource extraction and infrastructure development in Canada?
  • How has Canada’s MIC contributed to climate change?

Science/Technology

  • What role has the Canadian state had in the militarization of science and technology?
  • Is there a reciprocal relationship between national security, science, and technology?
  • How has military funding influenced the Canadian aerospace industry?
  • Have political, economic, or social motivations driven weapons development in Canada?
  • How have Canadian scientists, engineers, and doctors contributed to the MIC?
  • Has the Canadian MIC produced spin-off technologies for civilian use? How have military technologies impacted daily life?
Contact Info: 

Dr. Alex Souchen, (rsouchen@uwo.ca)

Dr. Matthew S. Wiseman, (mwisem2@uwo.ca).