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Report - ENCS Seminar St Petersburg PDF Print E-mail

Canada’s Past and Current Realities: Studying the Country’s Dynamic

Sixteenth European Seminar for Graduate Students in Canadian Studies

27-29 September 2007, Saint Petersburg, Russia

A conference discussing past and current realities could have not been set in a more appropriate city than the kaleidoscope of history and innovation that Saint-Petersburg provides. The conference was held in the building that houses the Saint-Petersburg Association for International Collaboration, which itself was in the process of having its facades renewed to its state of former glory. This organization, which houses the Russian Association of Canadian Studies, provided a beautiful and central location near the corner of the historic Nevsky Prospect and Liteyny Prospect.

Attended by many of the presidents of various European Canadian Studies Associations, this conference provided an excellent opportunity for the participant graduate students to experience the best that Canadian Studies has to provide. The participation of senior Canadianists such as BACS President Rachel Killick, the Italian Association’s President Luigi Bruti Liberati, the Irish Association’s President Vera Regan and the European Network’s President Serge Jaumain provided an excellent opportunity for the graduate student attendees to form relationships with long-time Canadianists. In addition, the attendance of Jean Labrie, the Head of Canadian Studies Section, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, provided an interesting addition to the discussions of Canada’s role in an International context.

This conference, which brought together participants from 17 countries, provided the basis for a broad and diverse exploration of Canada’s past and current realities. Topics such as Canadian multiculturalism, Canadian heritage, Canada’s First Nations, and both domestic and international Canadian politics incited interesting and thoughtful debate that proves that Canadian Studies, as an area of study, is alive and well in Europe. Indeed, the diversity of topics and approaches that were presented in this conference promises to add new and innovative dimensions to Canadian Studies from emerging Canadianists in Europe. Of particular note were papers given by Maria Shtiglitz on “Educational Programs and Canadian Foreign Policy”, and Olga Rosa Gonzales Martin all the way from the University of Havana discussing recent changes in ownership of “The Canadian Media.”

The British Association of Canadian Studies had three participants this year that demonstrated that emerging scholars in Britain are also engaging in exciting research on Canada. Thomas Snell presented on the representations of Aboriginal people in French-Canadian literature. His paper explored ways in which works by authors from First Nation backgrounds ‘represent’ their people’s past and present realities in both senses of the word (i.e. ‘to portray’ and ‘to speak for’) and discussed how this allowed for a re-establishment of cultural heritages. Will Smith presented an engaging paper on contemporary writing from Atlantic Canada that questioned the tensions of readership, publication and traditional regional conceptions. Tracie Scott presented on the influence that historiographical approaches has had upon Aboriginal land claims jurisprudence in Canada.

Ultimately though the success of the conference should be attributed to Dr. Vassily Sokolov and his team of dedicated volunteers. An event particularly enjoyed by the attendees was a boat trip on the canals of Saint Petersburg that provided a beautiful and scenic view of the city.

Tracie Scott, William Smith, and Thomas Snell

Travel report - Joy Porter PDF Print E-mail

Report on Travel Award made to Joy Porter, School of Humanities, Swansea University, Wales, UK

My sincere thanks to the BACS for this award which allowed me to consult archives at the University of Toronto to support a new archival monograph under contract with the University of Toronto Press entitled The Indian Poet of the First World War: Modernism and Indian Identity in the Life of Frank “Toronto” Prewett, 1893-1962.

The award also allowed me to deliver a paper on the above topic at the 2007 Biennial ACSUS (Association of Canadian Studies in the United States) and to take part in a roundtable on “International Views on Canadian Studies” organised by the Association’s Executive Director, David Archibald. It is intended that this panel session will be significantly expanded in future years at the ASCUS event – to broaden the UK voice I read out a statement on Canadian Studies in the UK from Professor Heidi MacPherson in her role as spokesperson for the British Association for American Studies. The impetus of the conference overall was to encourage and develop links between Canadian and American Studies. We were encouraged to convert American Studies departments where possible to American & Canadian Studies Departments and the event benefited from a series of instructive plenary talks given by significant players within the current Canadian government.

Travel report - Liam Blanc PDF Print E-mail
Research Trip to Ottawa
Liam Blanc, King's College London

I am currently conducting doctoral research at King’s College London, looking into the Canadian fur trade and its links to the global economy between 1760 and 1820. This 60 year period was a critical one for the later development of Canada as a trans-continental state. Following the British capture of New France in 1760, fur traders from the St. Lawrence Valley swarmed into what is now western Canada, establishing a durable and lasting trading network that stretched as far as the Pacific slope in the west and the Mackenzie River basin in the north. The rapid expansion of this trade based in Montreal caused conflict with the English Hudson’s Bay Company which was only ended in 1821 by the merger of the HBC with the largest Canadian concern, the North West Company. The construction of a continent-spanning fur trading network after 1760 was the critical factor in ensuring that the northern half of the continent was drawn into the British sphere of influence and was not absorbed by the United States.


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(C) 2008 British Association for Canadian Studies