PhD Candidate in History, Queen's University, Canada
Michael Borsk is a doctoral student from Queen’s University. His dissertation traces the history of land surveying and property formation in the Great Lakes region after the American Revolution. Situated at the intersection where structures of colonialism and capitalism in settler societies met global ideas of science and law, his research explores the process by which clashes over property rights and boundaries became the very ground on which colonial polities staked their claims to territorial sovereignty. Tracing surveyors’ chains across the border between the Old Northwest and Upper Canada, he asks how private property maps and the boundaries they enforced were created, circulated, and legitimated to become key sources of geographic, economic, and political power in the process of settler colonialism’s expansion and Indigenous nation’s dispossession.
During his time with the WCFIA, Michael will further his doctoral research, as well as his ongoing work on food security, global climate, and political ecology within the Hudson Bay Company’s operations during the eighteenth century.