Boyd Cothran

Boyd Cothran is the first son of a migrant from the Pacific Island of Okinawa to the southern Californian coast. He is an Associate Professor of History in the Department of History at York University in Toronto, Ontario. A global historian of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries whose research focuses on historical memory, war and society, and globalization, global migrations, and global connections, Dr. Cothran was the editor-in-chief of The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era from 2017-2022 and has served as the Graduate Program Director for the Graduate Program in History at York University.

Dr. Cothran’s most recent book, The Edwin Fox: How an Ordinary Sailing Ship Connected the World in the Age of Globalization, 1850-1914, will be published in October 2023 by the University of North Carolina Press. Combining global history and microhistory, it explores the crucial late-19th and early-20th century phase of globalization, empire, and colonialism using the voyages of a single, British merchant vessel.

Dr. Cothran is also the author of the award-winning book Remembering the Modoc War: Redemptive Violence and the Making of American Innocence (2014), which focused on the historiography of the Modoc War (1872-1873), California’s so-called last Indian war. He has also co-edited two volumes of global history. Women Warriors and National Heroes: Global Histories (2020), highlights the role of women in the creation and maintenance of nationalism and features twelve scholarly contributions from around the world to explore and problematize the global circulation of hero cults devoted to women warriors in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North America. Bridging Cultural Concepts of Nature: Indigenous Peoples and Protected Spaces of Nature (2021) brings together an interdisciplinary team of scholars working on the history of co-management agreements for National Parks and other forms of protected spaces of nature between Indigenous communities and national governments.

Dr. Cothran is currently working with an international team on two book edited volumes exploring Indigenous borderlands in North America and in Global History. He is also researching and writing the first Global History of the Okinawan Diaspora and their engagement with Japanese and American empires, globalization, migration, war, and identity. Working in English, Japanese, and Spanish language sources, it will tell the story of a global diasporic Indigenous people caught between empires who travelled the world in search of better lives and along the way brought their culture, religion, language, and identity with them. 

Contact Information:

• cothran@yorku.ca

• 416-736-2100 ext. 66959

Selected Recent Work:

Cothran, Boyd and Adrian Shubert. The Edwin Fox: How an Ordinary Sailing Ship Connected the World in the Age of Globalization, 1850–1914 Forthcoming, University of North Carolina Press, 2023.

Cothran, Boyd and Adrian Shubert. “Maritime History, Microhistory and the Global Nineteenth Century: The Edwin Fox.” Global Nineteenth Century Studies (2022).

Andersson, Rani-Henrik, Boyd Cothran, Saara Kekki (eds.). Bridging Cultural Concepts of Nature: Indigenous Peoples and Protected Spaces of Nature. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press, 2021.

Cothran, Boyd. “Between Civilization and Savagery: How Reconstruction Era Federal Indian Policy Led to the Indian Wars.” Western Historical Quarterly 52, no. 2 (2021): 167–88.

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

Cothran, Boyd, and Martin Rizzo. “The Many Lives of Justiniano Roxas: The Centenarian Fantasy in American History and Memory.” Native American and Indigenous Studies 5, no. 1 (2018): 168–204.

Cothran, Boyd. Remembering the Modoc War: Redemptive Violence and the Making of American Innocence. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2014.