Elizabeth Mancke



Tilley Hall 136


1 506 458 7062

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Canada Research Chair

Dr. Elizabeth Mancke, Canada Research Chair in Atlantic Canada Studies, has a doctorate from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and an MA from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Before coming to UNB, Dr. Mancke was at the University of Akron in Ohio.

Dr. Mancke’s broad research interests address the impact of European overseas expansion on governance and political systems, from local government to international relations. She has found that the study of Atlantic Canada provides unusually rich points of analytic purchase on major issues in the modern world.

Over the last half of a millennium, the region has dealt with continental and global pulls, with commercial exploitation and settler expansion, with choosing between membership in an empire or a transcontinental state, with extreme wealth and poverty. Understanding how these issues played themselves out in Atlantic Canada sheds light on other parts of the world. 

CRC project

Elizabeth Mancke’s CRC research on law-making in pre-Confederation British North America analyses legislation not only as a political activity, but also as a social, cultural and intellectual exercise that reflected the ambitions and aspirations of both the colonial states and their representative populations.

Her research involves the compilation of a database of the characteristics of legislation passed in the six pre-Confederation colonies between 1758 to 1867: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Lower Canada, Upper Canada, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland.

Once compiled the database will be launched as an open-source research tool that can be used worldwide. She will analyse legislation as political discourse to look for how British North Americans balanced imperial, provincial and local claims and understood their positions within an increasingly interdependent, globalized, and culturally diverse empire.

Other research

Dr. Mancke is working on a book entitled Imperium Unbound: European Expansion and the Making of Modern Geopolitics. It argues that European expansion created such fragmented, conflicting, and overlapping claims, or “spaces of power,” that Europeans needed a multilateral system of international relations to establish and adjudicate “rules of expansion.”

This book challenges the field of international relations by showing how the interstate system developed as much from multilateral diplomacy among Europeans over empire-building as from continental European relations; the largest imperial structure to emerge from overseas expansion was not any one empire but the international system itself.  Her work on Atlantic Canada influenced this study because the theoretical perspective she uses was initially developed in “Spaces of Power in the Early Modern Northeast.”


Britain’s Oceanic Empire: Atlantic and Indian Ocean Worlds, 1500-1850.  Edited with Huw V. Bowen and John G. Reid.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. 

The Creation of the British Atlantic World. Co-edited with Carole Shammas. Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005.

The Fault Lines of Empire: Political Differentiation in Massachusetts and Nova Scotia, c.1760-1830. New York: Routledge, 2004. 

The ‘Conquest’ of Acadia, 1710: Imperial, Colonial, and Aboriginal Constructions. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004. Co-authored with John G. Reid, Maurice Basque, Barry Moody, and William Wicken. 

Articles and book chapters

“Polity Formation and Atlantic Political Narratives.” In Philip D. Morgan and Nicholas Canny, eds., Oxford Handbook on the Atlantic World, c.1450-1820. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. Pp.  382-399.

“The Languages of Liberty in British North America, 1607-1776.” In Jack P. Greene, ed. Exclusionary Liberty: The English Libertarian Heritage and the Construction of Britain’s Settler Empire 1600 to 1900.  New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010. Pp. 25-49.

“Spaces of Power in the Early Modern Northeast.” In New England and the Maritime Provinces: Connections and Comparisons.  Eds. Stephen J. Hornsby and John G. Reid. Kingston and Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2005.  Pp. 32-49, 330-334.

“European Expansion, Oceanic Space, and the Creation of a Global International System.” In Maritime History as World History.  Ed. Daniel Finamore. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2004.  Pp. 149-166.