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N°97 (December 2024): For a Comprehensive and Global History of the Second World War’s Impact on Canada

The journal Études Canadiennes/Canadian Studies is pleased to announce a special issue on the global history of the Second World War’s Impact on Canada, directed by Guest editors Professor Marc Bergère (Université de Rennes 2) and Professor Jonas Campion (Université du Québec à Trois Rivières), in association with Editor-in-Chief Dr. Laurence Cros (Université Paris Cité).

This joint call for papers seeks article proposals for upcoming special issues of the Bulletin d’histoire politique and Études canadiennes/Canadian Studies, to be published in 2024–2025. Based on the proposals received, coordinating editors Marc Bergère and Jonas Campion will organize a thematically coherent collection of texts for each of the two journals, in collaboration with their respective editorial committees. Each article will go through the review and editing process in place at the journal where it will be published.

  • 1 Samy Mesli and Olivier Courteaux, eds., "Le Canada et la Seconde Guerre mondiale," special issue, B (...)

The eightieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War is fast approaching. Given that the last major collection of work dealing with the conflict’s impact on Canadian society was released a decade ago,1 this seems an appropriate moment to begin the publication process for a new series of articles addressing the topic in a way that takes recent historiographical trends and debates into account.

At this stage, we see the potential for one set of texts on Canadian involvement in military operations and another on the war’s effects on various segments of Canadian society. Through its focus on different theatres of operation (especially in northwestern Europe), the first group of articles would obviously resonate with a more traditional approach to military history. However, we also intend for it to address dynamics of mobilization/demobilization as well as relations with allied and liberated populations (war brides, military justice, etc.). As for the articles in the second group, they would analyze the war’s impact on Canada from a range of perspectives (political, economic, social, cultural) and at various scales (individuals, couples, families, communities).

As much as possible, article proposals should be aligned with the following considerations and demonstrate a familiarity with recent research, a desire to contribute to the renewal of the historiography of both twentieth-century Canada and the Second World War, and a potential for inspiring new perspectives to be developed in the future.

First, we want to encourage a comprehensive approach to the study of Canadian society and institutions during wartime.

With respect to geographic scope, this would mean combining different scales of analysis. In particular, we aim to capture the territorial and sociopolitical diversity at play in different provinces and territories, not to mention the varied situations prevailing at the municipal level. Moreover, given how the war shaped Canada and Canada shaped the war, analysis should extend beyond the country’s borders. Such a multifaceted approach would focus on a certain number of key flows, comparisons, and transnational contexts. Accordingly, articles should contribute to a better understanding of the actual and symbolic presence of Canadians, both civilians and members of the military, on different continents, as well as the roles they played in the heat of battle and on the margins of armed conflict. But we also seek to reveal instances where, through its involvement in the war, Canada found itself facing issues imported from other countries or exported its own issues abroad. Furthermore, there is the question of how the country positioned itself and mobilized resources in the context of wartime alliances and the international order that emerged in the postwar period.

In pursuit of an updated and more comprehensive history of Canada’s involvement in the Second World War, we invite contributors to push analytical boundaries beyond military operations, with a view to addressing the conflict’s cultural, social, political, technical, and economic dimensions. Gender history perspectives will no doubt prove vital to this process, along with reflections on the administration of justice in contexts where civilian and military jurisdictions overlap.

  • 2 For example, as a means of building on the ideas recently put forward in Bruno Cabanes (dir.), Une (...)

The study of Canada at war should also involve dialogue between History and concepts from other social sciences and humanities.2 Special attention needs to be paid to individual and collective actors, who can be defined in terms of not only prominence and military rank but also social categories (women, children), nationality, socio-professional status, and war-related outcomes. On the home front, analysis could also focus on issues of violence and consent during wartime, depictions of heroism and victimhood, as well as perceptions and portrayals of the enemy.

  • 3 Bruno Cabanes and Guillaume Piketty, eds., "Sorties de Guerre au XXe siècle," special issue, Histoi (...)

Second, we see a need for authors to situate their work within a long chronology that extends far beyond the period when military operations were underway in Europe and elsewhere. For instance, over the last two decades, the historiography of the Second World War has emphasized the significance of the prewar and postwar periods. Indeed, there is much to be gained from the detailed study of preparations for war (or lack thereof), the demobilization process, and the transition to peacetime.3 Meanwhile, Canada’s unique political, diplomatic, and geographic circumstances offer opportunities to reflect on how the conflict developed and played out.

Granted, such reflections could be based on a strict definition of the wartime period (1939–1945). But their temporal scope could easily be expanded to encompass the 1930s and 1950s, especially in the case of authors interested in the origins of the Cold War or the extent to which the Second World War was rooted in the events of 1914–1918. Such viewpoints could also support the analysis of various aspects of continuity and change, including the extent to which the war imposed a “new normal” on Canadian society.

Taking an even longer-term perspective would allow for assessing how the memory of the war was constructed and used within Canadian society during the second half of the twentieth century, especially in relation to issues of reparation, apology, and repentance. An analysis of how the conflict was commemorated in museums and other public spaces would provide an interesting starting point. Developments during the same period highlight the war’s impact on the construction and growth of national identities centred on either Canada or individual provinces. This process could be analyzed with reference to either special wartime regulations (the War Measures Act) or contemporary political debates (language issues, multiculturalism, the status of Indigenous Peoples). For all these reasons, we see a real need for articles to look at a broad swath of the twentieth century.

In terms of methodology, we would encourage authors to move beyond traditional written sources by drawing on oral history, visual materials, etc. It would also be interesting to reflect on the availability of large collections of digitized sources and related tools. How should they be approached and how can they be leveraged in the context of current and future efforts to explore the history of the Second World War as it relates to Canada?

Practical information:

Proposals are to be sent as a single document (Word format), to the coordinating editors ( et and should contain:

- a working title and an abstract (250 to 300 words)

- a brief biography (no more than 100 words)

The deadline for submission of proposals is 15 September 2023

The coordinating editors will respond by 1 October 2023 regarding the inclusion of the proposed text in one of the two special issues. Completed articles will need to be submitted for review no later than 31 January 2024. As much as possible, they should already comply with the editorial guidelines of the journal concerned (to be provided).

Articles published in Études Canadiennes/Canadian Studies should follow the formatting guide of the journal, available at They will be submitted to a double peer-review process. Selected articles will be published in issue 97 (December 2024) of Études Canadiennes/Canadian Studies, simultaneously in printed form and as an electronic publication (open access) on


1 Samy Mesli and Olivier Courteaux, eds., "Le Canada et la Seconde Guerre mondiale," special issue, Bulletin d’histoire politique 21, no. 3 (2013). Otherwise, there has been little in the way of joint contributions to the history of Canada at war. In addition to various monographs and theses, we would note the steady stream of articles on the Second World War published in Canadian Military History, a journal that takes a largely traditional approach to the study of armed conflict.

2 For example, as a means of building on the ideas recently put forward in Bruno Cabanes (dir.), Une histoire de la guerre du XIXe siècles à nos jours (Paris: Le Seuil, 2018); as well as in Julie Le Gac and Micolas Patin, Guerres mondiales, le désastre et le deuil 1914-1945 (Paris: A. Colin, 2022).

3 Bruno Cabanes and Guillaume Piketty, eds., "Sorties de Guerre au XXe siècle," special issue, Histoire@Politique, no. 3 (2007).

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