Scott See, the Libra professor of history at the University of Maine, has been awarded a Fulbright Canada fellowship for research at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia for the 2013–2014 academic year. He will study the emergence of written Canadian history that portrays the country in a peaceful light.
See’s research project, “Public Memory and the Construction of Canada’s ‘Peaceable Kingdom’ Ideal,” seeks to understand how Canada’s modern political and social landscapes have been shaped by the portrayal of the country as a peaceful and orderly society as written by historians, intellectuals and politicians since the 19th century.
“This project will explore the ways in which scholarly and political writings in different periods of national development have reflected, critiqued and shaped the enduring notion that unlike their southern neighbors, Canadians have constructed a peaceable kingdom,” See says.
As a Fulbright Scholar, See will also look at public memory and the ways myths shape residents’ views of nationalism, he says.
“The linkages between myth, public memory and the construction of nationalism are profound, and in many ways the peaceable kingdom concept provides an ideal bonding agent to connect them,” See says. “Through communication and public memory, all individuals in a society have a stake in articulating a sense of nationalism.”
See says the opportunity to engage in seminars and conferences with an interdisciplinary group of scholars at Dalhousie University will be crucial as he explores scholarly and popular examples of the construction of the peaceable kingdom myth, which is often both criticized and celebrated by scholars.
“This project will look at two paradoxes of Canadian national development,” See says. “First, Canadians have engaged in numerous armed conflicts throughout history, making the peaceable kingdom ideal seem problematic. Second, historians and other scholars who argue against the substance of the peaceable kingdom idea are prone to using the myth as a reference to draw attention to their work or frame their questions. Even some of the most skeptical critics of the popular myth seem to engage in a sort of intellectual negotiation in their studies of the concept.”
This project grows out of See’s research on rioting in Canada that was completed during a Fulbright Research Fellowship to study at the National Archives of Canada from 1995–1996. He was also awarded a Senior Research Fellowship from the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C., from 2001–2005.
See is the former chair of UMaine’s History Department and served as the first director of the University of Maine Humanities Initiative. He has written “The History of Canada” and “Riots in New Brunswick: Orange Nativism and Social Violence in the 1840s” and has published articles in several journals including Acadiensis, Canadian Historical Review, Labour/Le Travail and The American Review of Canadian Studies. His forthcoming book, “Affront to Peace and Order: Collective Violence in Nineteenth-Century Canada,” is under contract at University of Toronto Press.
At UMaine, See teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on Canadian history, historiography of the Northeastern Borderlands, Canadian-American history, and the history of violence in North America.
Fulbright Canada is a joint, bi-national, treaty-based organization created to encourage mutual understanding between Canada and the United States of America through academic and cultural exchange. Fulbright Canada is supported by the Canadian government through Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada; the United States government through the Department of State; and a diverse group of corporate sponsors, charitable trusts and university partners. It is governed by an independent board of directors and operates out of Ottawa.
Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747