Jeff Baillargeon

PhD Program (He/Him)


Fields of Study

Major and Minor Fields


  • Empire, Colonialism, & Indigeneity

Minor 1

Economy, Society, & Technology

Minor 2

State, Law, & Politics

Working Dissertation


The ‘Mission Civilisatrice’ in Upper Canada, a Fiscal Take?: Settler Colonialism & the Corporatization of Politics, 1820s-1860s


Brian Gettler


My dissertation focuses on early to mid-nineteenth-century Upper Canada as a case study for understanding settler colonialism as a fiscal policy of the British empire for the raising of revenue and funds for the administration of the state, both imperial and colonial. I understand the chartering of land settlement companies in the late 1820s, the development of the ‘civilization’ policy toward Indigenous peoples in the 1830s, and the move to responsible government in the 1840s as a fiscal policy renovation in the transition to the liberal empire from that of the previous pro-consular, autocratic second empire.
This, I argue, marked and was enabled by the corporatization of politics.
Approaching the ‘mission civilisatrice’ and the chartering of land settlement companies as uncoincidentally simultaneous, my dissertation reveals the ways in which the development of a market in fee-simple land tenure mirrored and mediated the increasingly corporate structure of politics, where the subject of political rights assumed an increasingly shareholder-like status and capacity for participation in a society managed like a corporation. The corporatization of politics in this era reveals how responsible government served as both a means to, and a threshold marker for participation in this new political and economic order, an order where the colonization of Indigenous peoples and the extraction of profit from their lands via large-scale and systematic settlement and speculation became an integral factor for reproducing society.


MA, York University
BA, McGill University