The Canadian Studies Program focuses on an awareness and analysis of Canadian stories. "Stories" can be considered literally, as in the study of Canadian authors, directors, and artists. But they can also be considered politically, an investigation of how society is organized and who has power. In this respect, the stories of the marginal are no less critical to understanding Canada than is knowledge of Canadian civics. Moreover, Canadian Studies considers the land itself; the Earth tells its own stories in the composition of the rock, the biodiversity of our forests, oceans, and tundra, and in the patterns of city and country living. Finally, the program is concerned with how Canadian stories are used to persuade us—only by understanding media and the techniques of propaganda can we defend ourselves against manipulation by corporations, special interests and politicians, and seek a better Canada.
As an interdisciplinary program, York University's Canadian Studies Program allows students to study with an impressive concentration of outstanding scholars, making connections between different fields of knowledge in the Humanities, Communications, Social, Physical, and Environmental Sciences, and the Fine Arts. Using this breadth, the Canadian Studies Major can engage in their community at the local, regional, and national levels, and will be well-able to devise solutions to the problems of a 21st century Canada. Graduates can expect to become familiar with Canadian issues in a wide variety of contexts, including Canadian-American relations, Literature, Canada's First Nations, the Environment, Media and Culture, Social Justice, Political Science and Canadian Identity.
As the pace of globalization increases, employers in both national and international contexts will be looking to hire those with knowledge of resource-rich Canada. But more than this, a Canadian Studies degree makes for more successful citizens. With this degree, the Canadian studies graduate is well able to devise strategies to help a given campaign, promotion or cause succeed in a Canadian context, because they are familiar with that context. They know how make the initiatives of a company, charity or organization fit with prevailing Canadian ideologies, government priorities and society in general. They know how to engage with political, economic and social problems (and successes) that are uniquely our own.
Canada outside of the classroom
Students for Canadian Studies is a student club that exists to support and promote the Canadian Studies program at York University on both the Keele and Glendon campuses and to provide an environment for students to engage in discussions and activity relating to Canadian culture. Upcoming club events include Canadian movie nights, CANADA SPEAKS Lecture Series, guest speakers, hockey nights and much more. Get involved; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Essay Contest Winners
The William Westfall Canadian Studies Prize is open to any student registered in 1000, 2000, and 3000 level Canadian themed courses offered at York University.
Course directors nominated up to two papers per course by April 30, 2013. Submitted papers were read by two juries. First, a pre-reading jury of students and Canadian Studies Faculty chose three finalists at each of the 1000, 2000 and 3000 year levels. Second, a tenure-stream jury of professors select winning essays from these finalists, normally one outstanding paper per year level. The judges considered each paper's originality, creativity, readability, research and contribution to the study of Canada. Because of the overall quality of submissions, no prize was awarded at the 1000 level in 2013, while two prizes were awarded at the 3000 level. An honourable mention was awarded for a paper at the 2000 year level.
News and Events
- Honourable Roy McMurtry ::: The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - March 26 in 001 Vanier (pdf) Y-file Article
- Prof Freake's Lecture on March 18th in 010 VC
- Prof Greene's Lecture on March 5th in 010 VC
- Prof Wicken's Lecture on Feb 27th in 010 VC
- Prof Wicken's Book a Double Winner
NEW General Education Requirements Fall-Winter 2014
Want a PhD in Canadian Studies? New joint program between Trent University and Carleton University
Professor Jody Berland was awarded the Association for Canadian Studies 2009 Award of Merit. Her book North of Empire: Essays on the Cultural Technologies of Space was published in 2009 by Duke University Press. Read the YFile article for more information.