Francine McKenzie


image of Francine McKenziePhD, University of Cambridge, 1995
Telephone: 519-661-2111 ext. 87637
Office: LWH 2236
Office Hours: Fall Term 2024 - By appointment only via Zoom


I am an international historian who works on international organizations, 20th century global trade, the British Commonwealth, Canada’s engagement in world affairs, and global order.  When I was a student, diplomatic history focused on the most powerful nations, the pursuit of power, and conflicts and wars. But I have always been interested in the efforts of people, groups and governments – including those of smaller countries - to cooperate, although cooperation went hand-in-hand with competition, disagreement and zero-sum thinking.  These interests have guided my research for the last thirty years.  In my first book, Redefining the Bonds of Commonwealth 1939-1948 (2002), I explain how Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and South African independence was advanced during the Second World War by redefining partnerships and expectations in the British Commonwealth.  In Parties Long Estranged (co-edited with Margaret MacMillan, 2003) the contributors examine the interactions between and parallel developments of Canada and Australia, two self-described middle powers that are often relegated to footnotes in histories of international affairs.  In A Global History of Trade and Conflict since 1500 (co-edited with Lucia Coppolaro, 2013), the contributors examine how the pursuit of trade has sparked violence, coercion, repression, conflict, and wars.  Dominion of Race (co-edited with Laura Madokoro and David Meren, 2017) examines the impact of race-thinking on Canada’s involvement in world affairs. 

My recent work has focused on global order and global governance. In GATT and Global Order in the Postwar Era (Cambridge University Press, 2020), I explore the institutional and international history of a significant but incompletely understood organization through case studies of the Cold War, the EEC and regionalism, agriculture, and development. I explain how economic and political factors and objectives defined trade policies, relations, and negotiations, explore the dynamic between nationalism and internationalism, show that the liberal order was progressive and conservative, fluid and rigid, and demonstrate that there were multiple and competing visions of global order. Read More about GATT and Global Order in the Postwar Era here and here.  If you want to know more about how trade and politics connect, check out my post on ‘The best history books to understand why international trade is all about politics’: My latest book is Rebuilding the Postwar Order: Peace, Security and the UN-System 1941-1948 (Bloomsbury, 2023) I explain how civil society and governments of the wartime allies conceived of peace and trace the international negotiations and conferences that later resulted in the United Nations, UNRRA, the IMF, World Bank and GATT, the FAO and WHO, UNESCO, and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. I use a multilateral approach, connect wartime ideas to earlier peacemaking efforts, and reveal support for, as well as resistance and alternatives to, the emerging postwar order. I explore the tensions between national sovereignty and international responsibility, national security and individual well-being, principles and compromises, morality and power, privilege and justice.

I am currently working on two new projects. The first is a history of a global discourse on peace during the Second World War; it tracks ideas about peace and their circulation in wartime. The second project explores the way officials and participants talked about liberal trade in GATT and what they actually did: economic theories and trade policies and practices did not align, although that did not mean they were incompatible.

My work has also been published in The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, The International History Review, Journal of Cold War Studies, and International Journal, as well as in many edited collections. 


As a teacher, I stress the importance of asking questions and independent thinking. These skills serve students well in and out of the classroom.  History matters for its own sake, but it also matters to the present and future.  The physical, social, cultural, intellectual, political and diplomatic worlds in which we live are accretions of the past, although the layers are not always visible. History also confers legitimacy, shapes identities, and justifies government policies and individual decisions. There is no single interpretation of the past, but history can be abused and misused.  Studying history allows us to ask questions about our communities, societies and world, to see why and how change has occurred, and to reflect critically on the many ways people make sense of the past today.

I teach first year classes, graduate seminars, and all levels in between.  Recently, I was part of the teaching team in HIS1810 – Wars that Changed the World. I lectured on the Napoleonic Wars and the Second World War.  I am involved in the undergraduate program in International Relations.  I regularly co-teach the capstone seminar – IR4702.  At the graduate level, I teach the course on professional development for second year doctoral students.

I supervise M.A. and Ph.D. students whose research relates to international trade, international relations, Canada’s international history, and the history of the British Commonwealth. I welcome inquiries from students interested in post-graduate study at Western.

Select Publications

Rebuilding book cover Image of McKenzie's Book GATT Dominion of Race: Rethinking Canada’s International History book cover A Global History of Trade and Conflict Since 1500 book cover Parties Long Estranged: Canada and Australia in the 20th Century book cover McKenzie-Redefining-the-Bonds-of-Commonwealth-SM






(2023) 'Rebuilding the Postwar Order: Peace, Security and the UN-System, 1941-1948' (Bloomsbury Academic)

(2021) (with Steve Marti), ‘Patriation, Dinner Party Wars and a Political Diplomat: Jean Casselman Wadds, Canada’s First Female High Commissioner to London, 1980-1982’ in Stacey Barker, Jill Campbell-Miller and Greg Donaghy, eds, Breaking Barriers, Shaping Worlds (University of British Columbia Press), pp. 183-204.

(2020) ‘World War II: Creating a Global Order’ in S. Center and E. Bates, eds, After Disruption: Historical Perspectives on the Future of International Order, September 2020. Read full report.

(2020) Globe and Mail Op-Ed: A stronger WHO would make for a stronger world against disease. 30 March 2020. Read more.

(2020) GATT and Global Order in the Postwar Era (Cambridge University Press, March 2020)

(2018) ‘A New Vision for the Commonwealth: John Diefenbaker and the Commonwealth Tour of 1958’ in J. Cavell and R. Touhey, eds,  Reassessing the Rogue Tory and His Times: New Perspectives on the Diefenbaker   Era in Canadian Foreign Relations  (University of British Columbia Press), pp. 25-44.                                               

(2018) ‘Peace, Prosperity and Planning PostwarTrade, 1942-1948’ in M. Christian, S. Kott, and O. Matejka, Planning in Cold War Europe: Competition, Cooperation, Circulations (1950s-1970s) (De Gruyter), pp. 21-43.

(2017) ‘Where was Trade at Bretton Woods?’, in G. Scott Smith and S. Rofe, eds, Global Perspectives on the Bretton Woods Conference and the Post-War World Order (Palgrave Macmillan), pp. 163-180.

(2017) ‘Race, Empire and World Order: Robert Borden and Racial Inequality at the Paris Peace Conference 1919‘ in Madokoro, McKenzie and Meren, eds, Dominion of Race: Rethinking Canada’s International History (University of British Columbia Press), pp. 73-93.

(2016) ‘Imperial Solutions to International Crises: Alliances, Trade and the Ottawa Imperial Economic Conference of 1932’ in R. Smith, E. Pedaliu, and J. Fisher, The Foreign Office, Commerce and British Foreign Policy 1900-2000 (Palgrave Macmillan), pp. 165-187.

(2014) ‘Free Trade and Freedom to Trade: Exports, Markets and the Development Challenge to GATT, 1948-1968’ in M. Frey, C. Unger and S. Kunkel, eds, International Organizations and Development: Shifting Visions of a Contested Paradigm, (Palgrave MacMillan), pp. 150-170.

(2014) ‘Faith, Fear and Free Trade’, International Journal, 2014, Vol. 69 (2): 233-245.

(2013) ‘Trading Blocs and Trading Blows: GATT’s Conflictual Path to Trade Liberalisation, 1947-1967’ in L. Coppolaro and F. McKenzie, eds, A Global History of Trade and Conflict since 1500 (Palgrave Macmillan), pp.163-187.

(2013) 'The Last Ditch Defender of National Sovereignty at Geneva': The Realities Behind Canadian Diplomacy During the Ethiopian Crisis’ in G. B. Strang, ed., Collision of Empires: Italy’s Invasion of Ethiopia and its International Impact (Ashgate), pp. 165-184.

(2013) 'Trade, Dominance, Dependence and the End of the Settlement Era in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, 1920-1973' in C. Lloyd, J. Metzer and R. Sutch, eds, Settler Economies in World History (Brill), pp. 463-489.

 (2012) Short Biographical essay on, 'Eric Wyndham White' in The Biographical Dictionary of Secretaries - General of International Organizations, B. Reinalda and K. Kille, eds,


Awards and Distinctions

2012-13 - Mackenzie King Visiting Professor of Canadian Studies, Department of History, Harvard University
2009-10 - USC Teaching Honor Roll, Award of Excellence in Teaching, UWO 

Professional Service

I am on the editorial board for the series "New Approaches to International History" at Bloomsbury Press

Conferences Organized

“Race and Canada’s International History: Identity, Interests, and Interactions”, a workshop sponsored by the Weatherhead Centre for International Relations, Harvard University, 1-3 May 2013. 

"Unpeaceable Exchange: Trade and Conflict in a Global Economy, 1000-2000." A Joint Workshop Between The University of Western Ontario and the Instituto de Ciências Socias. ICS - University of Lisbon. 16-17 July 2010.