Call for Papers: The North and World War One

Co-sponsored by YHMA and the International Centre for Northern Governance and Development, University of Saskatchewan, in association with Yukon College.

The role of the North in the First World War will receive long-overdue attention in this international conference. In addressing a significant gap in the historical understanding of the Yukon and Canada, the event will explore the role of the Yukon and other Northern North American regions in World War One. Over two hundred speakers and participants from across Canada, the United States, and Europe are expected to attend.

This multi-disciplinary conference will explore themes through historic study, museum studies, heritage conservation and artistic endeavours---in doing so, it will appeal to both academic and popular historians, the broader heritage community and those with an interest in the subject matter.

This conference will offer a forum for the exchange of new research, old memories, and the different ways of presenting them to the public. The event also includes interesting visits to community historical sites and museums, First Nation cultural centres and the great Yukon outdoors. Study tours to important Yukon sites associated with WWI will be organized.

Proposals are invited for the following themes:

The North Goes to War: Action in the World Beyond the North

The Canadian North responded with enthusiasm to WWI, sending large numbers of men to the front, developing extensive civic organizations to support the war effort, and investing heavily in War Bonds.  The Yukon used the war to draw attention to their commitment to Canada and the Empire, but they paid a substantial socio-economic cost for their enthusiasm.  

Presentations should cover such themes as WWI military participation, Alaska and WWI, the war in the northern provinces, the economic and social impact of wartime engagement, northern impressions of WWI and Canadian involvement in the war effort, and related topics.

The First World War Remembered

World War I was one of the most important experiences in the history of the still young Dominion of Canada.  The involvement of northern soldiers, Joe Boyle's remarkable wartime activities, the impact of the war on northern society, the Princess Sophia disaster and the end of WWI in the North are but a few of the wartime stories that have resonated through the years.   

Presentations should address these and other themes, focusing on the manner in which the North's experience in WWI has been remembered and memorialized in the North.  There is particular interest in the manner in which these stories have been recounted in oral history, historical works, the popular media, television and movies.

World War I was one of the most important experiences in the history of the still young Dominion of Canada.  The remote Yukon responded in a big way to the call of the British Empire, yet suffered a sharp decline at war's end as well as many lost lives. Stories of Yukon homefront citizens, soldiers and the exploits of personalities like Klondike Joe Boyle, Robert Service and George and Martha Black are lenses through which a more informed history can be told. Elsewhere across the North there are similar compelling pasts to spotlight and interpret.

Papers that bring these or other stories to the forefront in a new way or with new information are encouraged.

Presentation Format

  • Session panels
  • Individual papers (15-20 minutes) and ‘pecha kucha’-style presentations (5-7 minutes)
  • Workshops
  • Poster presentations, exhibits or other interesting forms of presentation/participation (be creative!)

Proposal Package

Please include the following with your submission:

  • Title of proposed presentation, format and 500-750 word (approximately) summary
  • How your proposal aligns with the conference themes
  • Author(s) name(s), contact information and brief CV

The deadline for abstracts is September 1, 2015. Abstracts may be submitted via email to conference@heritageyukon.ca, or by mail to:

Yukon Historical & Museums Association

3126 Third Ave

Whitehorse, YT Y1A 1E7