Call for Chapters: An Accidental History of Canada

Geoffrey Hudson's picture
Call for Papers
March 29, 2020 to June 15, 2020
Ontario, Canada
Subject Fields: 
Canadian History / Studies, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, Labor History / Studies, Social History / Studies, Women's & Gender History / Studies

Call for Chapters: An Accidental History of Canada

“The unforeseen has had devastating effects on ordinary people and whole societies….”

John C. Burnham

Injuries, misfortunes and calamities are part of the human condition, yet the history of the accident within the context of the study of health and medicine (broadly conceived) is still in its infancy, despite the publication of Accidents in History (Roger Cooter and Bill Luckin, eds.) two decades ago.  There is a dearth of Canadian scholarship on the subject, a significant omission given the propensity for injuries on farming and resource-based worksites, the distance between medical care and residents of rural and remote regions, and the risks posed by the transportation routes that link Canada's often-disparate populations.

In fact, individual or community responses, medical interventions, social programs that aim to prevent accidents and care for victims, understandings of risk and restitution, and the way in which we memorialize accidents, are not constant over time or place.  Rather, their malleable nature is indicative of shifting values and available health resources, including alterations in common understandings of the charitable imperative, social policy, medical practice, the role of citizens in securing their own health, and notions of how the workplace should best be organized.

This book will to a greater or lesser degree place the accident in wider historiographical and national contexts. The importance of class, age, gender, race and dis/ability in the history of accident in Canada will be explored. We welcome proposals that represent the cultural diversity of Canadian society and seek representation across time periods and regions.

Topics that are welcome include but are not necessarily limited to: accidents on the frontier; the urban accident; childhood accidents; accidents in the home; industrial and other workplace accidents; transportation accidents; war and peace-time accidents; accident insurance; accidents and workers’ compensation; medical, social and organizational responses to accidents; transportation accidents; recreational accidents; the accident as a catalyst for change; personal, family and community impacts of accidents; remembering and memorializing the accident; emotions and the accident; suicide as accident; drowning; mediating risk; environmental and/or place-based perspectives on the accident.

McGill Queens University Press has expressed a definitive interest in this book. We invite you to prepare a proposal of approximately 300 to 500 words (in a Word document file) setting out your proposed topic, time period, and sources, and a pitch for why your chapter belongs in a collection that stakes a claim for the historical significance of the accident in Canada. Send it to Geoff Hudson and Megan Davies by June 15, 2020 via email to

Contact Info: 

Geoff Hudson and Megan Davies c/o Geoff Hudson, Nothern Ontario School of Medicine, 955 Oliver Road, Thunder Bay, ON, Canada, P7B 5E1, Tel. 907 766 7392

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