A former grad student shares how Canadian Studies helped her choose Berkeley

A newsletter from one of our fellow Canadian organizations in the Bay Area.

Canadian Studies Announcements
In this issue:
  • Catch up with former Hildebrand Fellow, Julia Lewandoski
  • Affiliate event: Pandemic Immigration Consternation for the US and Canada
  • Affiliate event: Community Q&A: Facing Border Closure Together
“Canadian Studies was a major draw for why I came to Berkeley”:
Catching Up With 2016 Hildebrand Fellow Julia Lewandoski
Dr. Julia Lewandoski is a historian of early North America, who received her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 2019. She completed her undergraduate studies at Harvard and her M.A. at McGill University. While working on her dissertation at Berkeley, she received a Hildebrand Fellowship to fund her research into Indigenous property ownership in Lower Canada. Dr. Lewandoski was recently accepted as a tenure-track faculty member at California State University San Marcos, where she will begin this fall. She is also currently working on a book project that explores how small Indigenous nations across North America exploited imperial transitions to defend land as property in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Hildebrand Fellow Desirée Valadares sat down with Dr. Lewandoski to find out how Canadian Studies and the Hildebrand Fellowship supported her during her studies at Berkeley, and how her research experience has shaped her career since. Highlights from the interview are below: read our full interview with Dr. Lewandoski here.
What are your research interests? How do they intersect with Canadian Studies?
My research focuses on small Indigenous communities who used land ownership to survive colonialism and keep their communities together outside of the treaty system in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. I knew I wanted to tell a story that wasn’t just about U.S. history, but about settler colonial processes across the North American continent. Bringing in a Canadian piece helped me get away from the nation-state centric frame of U.S. history, and to reflect on how imperial processes have impacted Indigenous communities similarly and differently in the U.S. and Canada. I’ve also been influenced by exposure to Canadian scholarship in history, which tends to focus more on settler colonialism and historical geography, as well as Indigenous studies, where so many of the major thinkers are at Canadian universities!
How did you discover Canadian Studies, and why did you join?
I was worried about leaving Montreal and losing my connection to the Québec history that I had really grown to treasure at McGill. Would anyone in California know or care about Québec history? Knowing that Canadian Studies was here made me feel confident that I could keep my connection to Canadian scholarship and keep doing research in Québec. It was actually a major draw in deciding to come to Berkeley! I also appreciated the way that Canadian Studies works hard to integrate graduate students by giving us opportunities to share our research and practice presenting our work in a supportive environment.
How did the Hildebrand Fellowship support your research?
My project would not have been possible without the support of the Hildebrand Fellowship. I spent several summers and quite a few winter months in Québec. I photographed a lot of historic maps in Québec City, and in Montreal and Trois-Rivières I sorted through thousands of property documents. I was able to visit with Abenaki community leaders and historians at Odanak, and get a better sense of how historic property ownership informs the legal battles they are undertaking today as they defend and reclaim territory in southeastern Québec. I did quite a bit of driving around and exploring the landscape, which turned out to be really important in terms of understanding what pieces of land were claimed, owned, and fought for. I also sampled a lot of poutines!
What do you see as the future of Canadian studies?
Canadian scholarship is leading the way right now in multiple important fields, especially Indigenous studies, and energy, climate change, and environment. Scholars who study the U.S. in the U.S., can always have their perspective enriched and enlarged by considering Canadian scholarship on really any issue… Beyond content, I think the Canadian academic system encourages a more collaborative model in the humanities and social sciences. Something I’d love to see spread more widely is a more collaborative and less competitive approach to academia.
Pandemic Immigration Consternation for the United States and Canada
Panel | August 5 | 2:30 PM ET / 11:30 AM PT | Online – RSVP required
The Canada Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars invites you to join them for a virtual panel discussion among experts to consider the implications of recent COVID-related travel restrictions between the US and Canada. In response to COVID-19, both nations have reassessed the risks of cross-border migration. In March, the United States suspended visa processing at US embassies and consulates around the world. In June, the US announced it was suspending H-1B visas, H-2B visas, L visas, and certain J visas through Dec. 31. Then on July 22, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Canada’s asylum agreement with the United States, known as the Safe Third Country Agreement, violated the Canadian Constitution, and gave Ottawa six months to address the issue before the court orders the agreement invalid on January 22, 2021. How will these changes affect business, families, and individuals? And how might these challenges be resolved in coming months?
Panelists will include Theresa Brown, Director of Immigration and Cross-Border Policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center; Meena Rafie, managing attorney at Erickson Immigration Group; and Richard Sanders, a global fellow at the Canada Institute. The panel will be moderated by Christopher Sands, director of the Canada Institute and board member at the Canadian Studies Program at UC Berkeley.
RSVP and view the webcast here. Please email questions for the Q&A session to canada@wilsoncenter.org.
Community Q&A: Facing Border Closure Together to Flatten the Curve
Forum | August 12 | 4:00 p.m. PT | Online – RSVP required
Please join the Consulate General of Canada in San Francisco and the Digital Moose Lounge for an important conversation about the continued extension of the US/Canada border closure. This is an open format community discussion and an opportunity for you to have your questions answered by experts. The panel will consist of Consul General Rana Sarkar; Senior Consular Officer Marni Kellison; and Pavan Dhillon, an immigration attorney and board member at Berkeley’s Canadian Studies Program.
Canadian Studies Program
213 Moses Hall #2308 WEBSITE | EMAIL
Canadian Studies Program | Univ. of California, Berkeley, 213 Moses Hall #2308, Berkeley, CA 94720


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