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An intensive summer course in language and culture for visiting students

York University, Toronto, Canada

* pending approval

Topics in Canadian Studies is an intensive summer course in Canadian literature and culture for visiting students interested in exploring these topics while improving their language skills immersed in an English medium institution and an English environment. Especially appropriate for students enrolled in programmes of English philology or Canadian Studies, the course allows student to acquire credit in their home institutions while honing their English language skills through first-hand experience of a language and culture they are studying.

Around a core of Canadian short stories and a novel (to be read before arrival), the course engages students, as the limited time permits, with the many “voices” of Canadian literature representing the complex cultural fabric of the society. Canada is rightly perceived internationally to be on the forefront of multicultural social and educational arrangements, topics intriguing to many more monocultural societies. Themes of multiculturalism figure strongly in the course, as it investigates constitutional categories of inclusion (French, Native, multiethnic, “founding” cultures) through literary and documentary texts and films.

The course content is especially suitable for those students working on Canadian writers and topics, though students in other programmes may well also be interested. Depending on the makeup of the student body, the course will be tailored to accommodate the relative sophistication of the visiting students. As well, English departments in some universities (those in Italy, for example) now require a "study or work" abroad credit. This course could dovetail with any such requirements.

York University is ideally situated for the study of these aspects of Canadian culture, being an English-medium institution in the multicultural context of Toronto, Canada’s largest city and the major centre of cultural and literary activity. As Canada’s third largest university in a city which has close to the highest rate of recent immigration in the world, York is a true crossroads on global migration routes with all of the accompanying cultural and linguistic exchange.

This course will be offered for the first time in the Summer term 2006*. We foresee being able to offer accommodation in the student's residences on campus, which is extremely pleasant in the summer, and arrange for airfare at a preferential rate. We also anticipate taking advantage of the wealth of interesting and beautiful sites around the Toronto area in the summer through organized activities for the students outside of class time.

Evaluation: Evaluation will be divided between oral and written assignments. Presentations/debates based on the readings make up the oral component. The intensive writing component, with in-class writing assignments and weekly papers, allows ample opportunity for practice in writing in English and critical feedback.
Students also have access to Atkinson Essay-Tutoring Centre and the York ESL Open Learning Centre for extra tutorial help in language-related issues and uses of English for academic purposes.

Term: 3 weeks, beginning mid-July.
Recent revisions in the Italian ( and I believe other European) terms bring them more closely into line with North American ones, freeing students to take courses during regular North American summer terms.

Intensity/ Credit: 3 hours per day, 4 days per week, amounting to 36 hours, hence (in York’s terms) 3 credits.

Extracurricular: Weekend activities for the middle two weekends will involve a selection of : a day trip to Stratford or to some summer music or drama festivals in smaller Ontario centres; a camping/canoeing overnight trip to “cottage country”; a day trip to Niagara; visit to Black Creek Pioneer village; evenings in the “towns” of Toronto: Chinatown, Greektown, Little Italy, Little India; Caribanna if the dates apply.
The course directors will arrange periodic course-related cultural events (Canadian plays, films, galleries). We will also engage some Canadian authors for talks.

Students would have privileges to use the York sports facilities, including swimming pools, tennis courts, gyms.

If you would like to be put on a mailing list for updates on the course and costs, please email, or write to:

Topics in Canadian Studies Summer Course
Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics
York University
4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario

* pending approval