Michael Borsk is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at Queen’s University. This year, he is also a visiting Global Fellow at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Initiative on Global History, a McMurty Fellow with the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, and the W.C. Good Fellow at Queen’s.
His dissertation, supervised by Jeffrey L. McNairn, examines the role played by land surveyors in the process of state-backed property formation in both British Upper Canada and the American Old Northwest. Offering a connected history of this Great Lakes region, it explores how the forms of knowledge recorded in surveyors’ cartographic representations of landed property were first made and then used to dispossess Indigenous nations and expand the sovereignty of settler states through property disputes.
His second project investigates the political ecology of the Hudson Bay Company during the eighteenth century. With a focus on hunting and the wild animals that fed the fur trade in the sub-arctic environments of northern North America, this work situates questions of scarcity, food security, and climate change amidst the larger literature on nature and its commodification under capitalism.
- “Debt Amongst Friends: Sympathy in Exchange and the Narration of Transatlantic Credit Networks, 1792-1837” Journal of the Canadian Historical Association, vol. 30, no. 2, (Forthcoming)