cothran


Boyd Cothran

Photo of Boyd Cothran

Department of History

Associate Professor
Graduate Program Director
Editor-In-Chief of The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era

Office: 2132 Vari Hall
Phone: 416 736-2100 Ext: 66959
Email: dgshist@yorku.ca, cothran@yorku.ca
Primary website: website


I am an associate professor of U.S. History in the Department of History at York University in Toronto, Ontario.

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Boyd Cothran is Associate Professor in the Department of History at York University in Toronto, ON Canada and the co-editor of The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. He is a historian of the 19th-century and the author of Remembering the Modoc War: Redemptive Violence and the Making of American Innocence (University of North Carolina Press, 2014), which received the 2015 Robert M. Utley Prize for the best book in military history from the Western History Association and was a finalist for the Best First Book in Native American and Indigenous Studies from the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association. More recently his research interests have gone more global in scale. He is currently working on two book length projects that combine global history and microhistory. The first, co-authored with Adrian Shubert, is Vessel of Globalization: The Many Worlds of the Edwin Fox, a history of the crucial late-19th and early-20th century phase of globalization using the ship the Edwin Fox as a narrative vehicle. The second is 1873: The World the Civil War Made, a microhistorical study of the major global historical themes of the era through the lens of a single year.

Degrees

PhD, University of Minnesota
MA, University of Minnesota
BA, University of California, Berkeley

Research Interests

History , Indigenous Peoples, U.S. Gilded Age and Progressive Era, Global History, American West, Historical Memory, Historiography, Political Economy, Settler Colonialism, and American Innocence

Current Research Projects

1873: The World the Civil War Made

    Summary:

    A book-length narrative history of the year 1873.

    Description:

    this project seeks to problematize the traditional boundaries historians make between Reconstruction, the Gilded Age, the Progressive Era, and the Age of American Empire. A microhistorical study of the major themes of the post-Civil War era through the lens of a single year, it uses small but powerful stories, a series of vignettes that form a mosaic of episodes, events, and moments that alone are fascinating but together reveal a whole new way of looking at America's most pivotal era by tracing the complex and interwoven themes of these eras back to the Civil War.

    See more
    Role: PI

“Vessel of Globalization: The Many Worlds of the Edwin Fox”

    Summary:

    “Vessel of Globalization: The Many Worlds of the Edwin Fox” is an historical project with the overarching goal of exploring the crucial late 19th and early 20th century phase of globalization using the ship the Edwin Fox as a vehicle. Built in Calcutta in 1853, the ship was the last of the so-called “Moulmein traders.” By the time it was decommissioned in 1883, it had sailed around the world more than thirty times and played an active role in many of the developments that constituted the beginnings of modern globalization. Afterwards it served until 1905 as a floating freezing unit for the nascent frozen meat trade from New Zealand to Great Britain.

    Globalization is a concept developed by social scientists to describe a late 20th-century phenomenon that seemed novel; however, the development of regular and sustained patterns of global exchange capable of producing profound change in society is a process with deep historical roots. The period from 1800 to 1914 was particularly crucial, witnessing the rapid expansion and intensification of trade around the globe; the spread of industrialization to many regions; the great thrust of Western imperialism; the unprecedentedly large migrations of people, both free and forced; the systematic dispossession of Indigenous Peoples and their replacement with settler populations; the integration of settler colonies into imperial markets; and sweeping environmental change. These are the specific issues we will probe through the Edwin Fox, whose life coincides with the years that have been called the “inner focal point” of this period. In addition to its main job of transporting basic commodities such as rice, tea, and timber around the world, it carried British troops to and from the Crimean War and to India to suppress the “Mutiny” of 1857; indentured labourers from China to Cuba and from Mauritius back to India; convicts, some of them convicted in Canada, from Great Britain to Australia; and settlers from Great Britain to New Zealand.

    By focussing on the life of one quite ordinary ship between 1853 and 1905, this study of the Edwin Fox will make an entirely original contribution to our knowledge of these crucial decades in global history. While some scholars have used individual men or women or commodities to explore this story, ours will be the first to use the voyages of a single ship to do so. Despite their ubiquity and their centrality to the long-distance movement of goods and people well into the 20th century, ships themselves have largely evaded global historians’ sonar. This unique perspective will permit a more intimate understanding of the human agencies and the human costs involved in the most important period of global integration to occur prior to the one we have been experiencing since the 1990s.

    This project involves original research in archives in Australia, Canada, Cuba, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom where holdings relating to the Edwin Fox have been identified, and Cuba. Sources include Lloyd’s List, which will provide the data for the interactive digital map; ship’s records, which will tell us more about the career and crews of the Edwin Fox; convict records, which will allow us to narrate the stories of some of the prisoners the Edwin Fox carried to Australia; and first-hand accounts of immigrants who sailed on it from Great Britain to New Zealand, which we will use to discuss the immigrant experience. These archival findings will be the basis of a microhistory of the Edwin Fox which will be contextualized using diverse secondary literatures to explore the broader themes of globalization. The primary outputs will be: a publicly available interactive digital map of the voyages of the Edwin Fox that will appeal to multiple audiences; two conference presentations and two articles, one in a scholarly journal and one in a popular history magazine with a global reach. After the research phase supported by the IDG ends, we will produce a short, well-illustrated book written in a lively and engaging style directed at a popular as well as scholarly audiences.

    Description:

    See Summary

    See more
    Role: Co-Investigator

    Collaborator: Adrian Shubert
Books

Publication
Year

Women Warriors and National Heroes: Global Histories, Boyd Cothran, Joan Judge, and Adrian Shubert, eds. (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2020)

2020

Remembering the Modoc War: Redemptive Violence and the Making of American Innocence (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2014)

2014

Book Chapters

Publication
Year

“The Lava Beds Monument and the Making of California’s Last Indian War.” In Unforgiving Landscape: Lava Beds National Monument and the Modoc War (Klamath Falls: Shaw Historical Library, 2011), 121-132.

2011

Book Reviews

Publication
Year

“Book Review: LeeAnna Keith’s The Colfax Massacre: The Untold Story of Black Power, White Terror, and the Death of Reconstruction, History: Reviews of New Books 39:3 (Spring 2011): 80.

“Book Review: Allison Varzally’s Making a Non-White America: Californians Coloring Outside Ethnic Lines, 1925-1955, History: Reviews of New Books 36:3 (Spring 2008): 103.


Journal Articles

Publication
Year

“Exchanging Gifts with the Dead: Lava Beds National Monument and Narratives of the Modoc War.” International Journal of Critical Indigenous Studies, 4:1 (Spring 2011): 30-40

“Working the Indian Field Days: The Economy of Authenticity and the Question of Agency in Yosemite Valley, 1916-1929.” American Indian Quarterly 34:2 (Spring 2010): 194-223.

"Melancholia and the Infinite Debate." Western Historical Quarterly, 47:01 (November 2016):
435-438. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/whq/whw091

2016

"Enduring Legacy: U.S.-Indigenous Violence and the Making of American Innocence in the
Gilded Age." Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, 14:04 (October 2015): 562-579.

2015


Current Courses

Term Course Number Section Title Type
Fall 2020 GS/HIST5001 3.0 A Doing History: An Introduction SEMR
Fall/Winter 2020 GS/HIST5701 6.0 A Modern Cultural History SEMR


Upcoming Courses

Term Course Number Section Title Type
Fall/Winter 2020 GS/HIST5701 6.0 A Modern Cultural History SEMR


I am an associate professor of U.S. History in the Department of History at York University in Toronto, Ontario.

Boyd Cothran is Associate Professor in the Department of History at York University in Toronto, ON Canada and the co-editor of The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. He is a historian of the 19th-century and the author of Remembering the Modoc War: Redemptive Violence and the Making of American Innocence (University of North Carolina Press, 2014), which received the 2015 Robert M. Utley Prize for the best book in military history from the Western History Association and was a finalist for the Best First Book in Native American and Indigenous Studies from the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association. More recently his research interests have gone more global in scale. He is currently working on two book length projects that combine global history and microhistory. The first, co-authored with Adrian Shubert, is Vessel of Globalization: The Many Worlds of the Edwin Fox, a history of the crucial late-19th and early-20th century phase of globalization using the ship the Edwin Fox as a narrative vehicle. The second is 1873: The World the Civil War Made, a microhistorical study of the major global historical themes of the era through the lens of a single year.

Degrees

PhD, University of Minnesota
MA, University of Minnesota
BA, University of California, Berkeley

Research Interests

History , Indigenous Peoples, U.S. Gilded Age and Progressive Era, Global History, American West, Historical Memory, Historiography, Political Economy, Settler Colonialism, and American Innocence

Current Research Projects

1873: The World the Civil War Made

    Summary:

    A book-length narrative history of the year 1873.

    Description:

    this project seeks to problematize the traditional boundaries historians make between Reconstruction, the Gilded Age, the Progressive Era, and the Age of American Empire. A microhistorical study of the major themes of the post-Civil War era through the lens of a single year, it uses small but powerful stories, a series of vignettes that form a mosaic of episodes, events, and moments that alone are fascinating but together reveal a whole new way of looking at America's most pivotal era by tracing the complex and interwoven themes of these eras back to the Civil War.

    Project Type: Funded
    Role: PI

“Vessel of Globalization: The Many Worlds of the Edwin Fox”

    Summary:

    “Vessel of Globalization: The Many Worlds of the Edwin Fox” is an historical project with the overarching goal of exploring the crucial late 19th and early 20th century phase of globalization using the ship the Edwin Fox as a vehicle. Built in Calcutta in 1853, the ship was the last of the so-called “Moulmein traders.” By the time it was decommissioned in 1883, it had sailed around the world more than thirty times and played an active role in many of the developments that constituted the beginnings of modern globalization. Afterwards it served until 1905 as a floating freezing unit for the nascent frozen meat trade from New Zealand to Great Britain.

    Globalization is a concept developed by social scientists to describe a late 20th-century phenomenon that seemed novel; however, the development of regular and sustained patterns of global exchange capable of producing profound change in society is a process with deep historical roots. The period from 1800 to 1914 was particularly crucial, witnessing the rapid expansion and intensification of trade around the globe; the spread of industrialization to many regions; the great thrust of Western imperialism; the unprecedentedly large migrations of people, both free and forced; the systematic dispossession of Indigenous Peoples and their replacement with settler populations; the integration of settler colonies into imperial markets; and sweeping environmental change. These are the specific issues we will probe through the Edwin Fox, whose life coincides with the years that have been called the “inner focal point” of this period. In addition to its main job of transporting basic commodities such as rice, tea, and timber around the world, it carried British troops to and from the Crimean War and to India to suppress the “Mutiny” of 1857; indentured labourers from China to Cuba and from Mauritius back to India; convicts, some of them convicted in Canada, from Great Britain to Australia; and settlers from Great Britain to New Zealand.

    By focussing on the life of one quite ordinary ship between 1853 and 1905, this study of the Edwin Fox will make an entirely original contribution to our knowledge of these crucial decades in global history. While some scholars have used individual men or women or commodities to explore this story, ours will be the first to use the voyages of a single ship to do so. Despite their ubiquity and their centrality to the long-distance movement of goods and people well into the 20th century, ships themselves have largely evaded global historians’ sonar. This unique perspective will permit a more intimate understanding of the human agencies and the human costs involved in the most important period of global integration to occur prior to the one we have been experiencing since the 1990s.

    This project involves original research in archives in Australia, Canada, Cuba, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom where holdings relating to the Edwin Fox have been identified, and Cuba. Sources include Lloyd’s List, which will provide the data for the interactive digital map; ship’s records, which will tell us more about the career and crews of the Edwin Fox; convict records, which will allow us to narrate the stories of some of the prisoners the Edwin Fox carried to Australia; and first-hand accounts of immigrants who sailed on it from Great Britain to New Zealand, which we will use to discuss the immigrant experience. These archival findings will be the basis of a microhistory of the Edwin Fox which will be contextualized using diverse secondary literatures to explore the broader themes of globalization. The primary outputs will be: a publicly available interactive digital map of the voyages of the Edwin Fox that will appeal to multiple audiences; two conference presentations and two articles, one in a scholarly journal and one in a popular history magazine with a global reach. After the research phase supported by the IDG ends, we will produce a short, well-illustrated book written in a lively and engaging style directed at a popular as well as scholarly audiences.

    Description:

    See Summary

    Project Type: Funded
    Role: Co-Investigator

    Collaborator: Adrian Shubert

All Publications


Book Chapters

Publication
Year

“The Lava Beds Monument and the Making of California’s Last Indian War.” In Unforgiving Landscape: Lava Beds National Monument and the Modoc War (Klamath Falls: Shaw Historical Library, 2011), 121-132.

2011

Book Reviews

Publication
Year

“Book Review: LeeAnna Keith’s The Colfax Massacre: The Untold Story of Black Power, White Terror, and the Death of Reconstruction, History: Reviews of New Books 39:3 (Spring 2011): 80.

“Book Review: Allison Varzally’s Making a Non-White America: Californians Coloring Outside Ethnic Lines, 1925-1955, History: Reviews of New Books 36:3 (Spring 2008): 103.


Books

Publication
Year

Women Warriors and National Heroes: Global Histories, Boyd Cothran, Joan Judge, and Adrian Shubert, eds. (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2020)

2020

Remembering the Modoc War: Redemptive Violence and the Making of American Innocence (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2014)

2014

Journal Articles

Publication
Year

“Exchanging Gifts with the Dead: Lava Beds National Monument and Narratives of the Modoc War.” International Journal of Critical Indigenous Studies, 4:1 (Spring 2011): 30-40

“Working the Indian Field Days: The Economy of Authenticity and the Question of Agency in Yosemite Valley, 1916-1929.” American Indian Quarterly 34:2 (Spring 2010): 194-223.

"Melancholia and the Infinite Debate." Western Historical Quarterly, 47:01 (November 2016):
435-438. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/whq/whw091

2016

"Enduring Legacy: U.S.-Indigenous Violence and the Making of American Innocence in the
Gilded Age." Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, 14:04 (October 2015): 562-579.

2015


Current Courses

Term Course Number Section Title Type
Fall 2020 GS/HIST5001 3.0 A Doing History: An Introduction SEMR
Fall/Winter 2020 GS/HIST5701 6.0 A Modern Cultural History SEMR


Upcoming Courses

Term Course Number Section Title Type
Fall/Winter 2020 GS/HIST5701 6.0 A Modern Cultural History SEMR