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Transnationalizing North American History

Transnationalizing North-American History


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1Is there today a historiography of North-America, understood as a geographical, social and political space of entangled histories? how can it to contribute to a renewal of the national historiographies of each member country of NAFTA, a treaty implemented sixteen years ago? Those are the questions raised by the three essays presented here. To reconsider the national histories of Canada, the United States and Mexico through a transnational North-American perspective is our proposal.

2The comparison and intersection of these histories necessarily lead to a critical examination of national narratives, which, in all three cases, have greatly contributed to the shaping of collective identities. In that respect, the three essays are heterodox and multiply the heresies to quote Robert MacDougall. But the comparison and intersection also brings forth new historiographical questions. Wasnt the United States expansionism directed as much towards the North and the South than to towards the West before the Civil War? Wasnt Canada as much influenced by the civic republicanism than by the pro-British loyalism of the Americans who migrated there? Can we write the history of Mexican and Canadian radicalism in the 19th and 20th century while ignoring their ties to the radicals in the United States? These are some of the perspectives suggested by the abolition of national historiographical borders or the inclusion of transnational communities of migrants, exiles and refugees.

3An earlier version of the three essays was presented by the authors at the international symposium Writing the Political History of North America chaired by Richard F. Bensel (Cornell University), at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association, Washington D.C., January 3-6, 2008.

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« Transnationalizing North-American History », Nuevo Mundo Mundos Nuevos [En ligne], Débats, mis en ligne le 01 avril 2010, consulté le 20 octobre 2019. URL :

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