Happy Holidays from Canadian Studies! ☃️

An item from one of our fellow Canadian organizations in the Bay Area.


🎄 Canadian Studies Announcements 🎄
In this issue:
  • A special holiday message from Program Director Irene Bloemraad
  • Board Member Brad Barber explains why he supports Canadian Studies
  • Newfoundland’s Mummers, a Canadian Christmas tradition
  • Holiday recipe: Bûche de Noël, Québec’s yule log cake
  • Spring event preview: Social Diversity & Political Identities, feat. Allison Harell
Season’s Greetings from Canadian Studies!
Dear Friends,
It’s hard for me to believe, but in less two weeks 2020 will be at an end. Reflecting on our program’s activities over this very strange year, I find myself instead looking ahead. I am pleased to say that in spite of this year’s difficulties I see a clear path forward for Canadian Studies in 2021 – one where the program is not only surviving, but thriving.
Of course, this year has brought some significant challenges for our program. Travel restrictions limited the ability of our research grant recipients to work, and we had to suspend our much-beloved in-person lunchtime colloquia. We were most disappointed to have to cancel our annual Canadian Thanksgiving, our chance to celebrate the holiday together.
However, these obstacles also revealed some exciting opportunities and untapped potential for the program going forward. Our move online has enabled us to reach a much larger audience – not just in the Bay Area, but in Canada and even farther afield. (One of our events was even covered by The McGill Tribune!) We’ve heard from many of you about the importance of the Canadian Studies community in this time of pandemic, and we hope to continue to foster those connections when we transition back to in-person events some time in the spring. While 2020 put some of our plans on hold, we’re more determined than ever to put the experience we’ve gained over the last eight months to good use, and hit the ground running with an even better program in 2021.
For that reason, we ask that you please consider making a gift of any size in support of Canadian Studies. The support of our donors – your support – is crucial to ensuring that we can continue providing quality education about Canada. While many programs at Berkeley face severe budget cuts, our donors enable us to arrange expert lectures on Canadian subjects and offer research support for graduate students. We know that there are many worthy causes in need of support this year; that’s why we’re so grateful to those of you who continue to demonstrate your belief in the importance of our work.
From all of us at Canadian Studies, we thank you so much for your support, and look forward to seeing you in the New Year!
In friendship,
Irene Bloemraad
Program Director ☃️
Board Member Brad Barber Reflects on 30 Years of Supporting Canadian Studies
Brad Barber is a long-time friend of Canadian Studies who played a crucial role in creating the program we know today. As Assistant VP of Institutional Advancement in the UC Office of the President, he helped establish both the Barnes Chair in Canadian Studies and the Hildebrand Graduate Research Fellowship. Now, as a Canadian Studies board member, he’s constantly looking for opportunities to enhance and expand what he calls one of Berkeley’s best-run programs.
We sat down with Brad to hear his year-end reflections on the state of the program. Excerpts from the interview are below; read the full piece on our website.
How did you get involved with Canadian Studies?
My interest in Canada goes back to my childhood. As an undergraduate at Cal, I followed Canadian politics and affairs. I was very interested in bilingualism and the relationship between French and English-speaking Canadians. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any courses in Canadian history at Berkeley, but I got to know Tom Barnes, who later founded the Canadian Studies Program. Professor Barnes thought that Canada is actually a very important country for America in many ways, and one that’s surprisingly little-understood. When I moved to the Office of the President, I was excited to the do some serious fundraising for the program.
What are your goals as a board member?
This isn’t surprising given my background, but I think that the board’s primary duty should be to raise funds. It’s going to be a while before higher ed goes back to good times, and I think next year will be particularly hard. I also hope that Canadian Studies can do a better job of connecting with undergraduates, especially students who come from Canada. We should be engaging with these students from the moment they step foot on campus, even if they’re not studying anything directly related to Canada. I think that digital events offer a great opportunity to do more outreach in this area.
What do you think are the program’s strengths?
I’m involved with a number of other programs across campus, and I have to say that I’m very impressed with the way that Canadian Studies is run. I think it’s remarkable what you have been able to accomplish with the modest funding available. Canadian Studies does more with less than almost anyone I know, and that’s to Irene’s credit. I often tell other faculty directors that they should follow her example.
Newfoundland’s Mummers: A Christmas Tradition with a Checkered History
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many holiday traditions to adapt to life online. Among the latest is the 2020 Mummer’s Festival, a St John’s celebration aimed at preserving a centuries-old Christmas practice where revelers visit their neighbors door-to-door in disguise. Once widespread in England and its colonies, it’s now practiced mostly in Newfoundland and Labrador, where it’s recognized as part of the provinces’ intangible heritage.
Yet this tradition has a dark history: for over 100 years, associations with violence and hooliganism kept mummering underground in the province. The Newfoundland legislature actually declared the custom illegal in 1861, and the ban was not lifted until the 1990s. It’s only been since 2007 that a dedicated group of enthusiasts has begun to revive the practice for a new generation.
How did mummering go from a popular celebration to being viewed as an antiquated embarrassment, and finally to being celebrated as a unique cultural icon? Learn more about the fascinating history and present state of this quirky tradition on Atlas Obscura and CNN (with pictures).
Bûche de Noël, or Yule Log Cake
Holiday Recipe: The Bûche de Noël, Québec’s Yule Log Cake
For many Québécois, the holiday season wouldn’t be complete without enjoying a delicious bûche de Noël, or “Yule log”. Unlike its English counterpart, however, this edible log isn’t one you’ll want to burn. Formed from a chocolate Swiss roll filled with jam or cream, this cake is shaped into a log and often decorated with powdered sugar “snow”, berries, and marzipan or merengue mushrooms.
Learn how to make your own bûche de Noël from scratch at AllRecipes.com. Or, if you’re caught up in the holiday rush, try this simplified version using a few pre-made ingredients from Food Network Canada.
Spring Event Preview
Social Diversity, Partisan Identities and the 2019 Canadian Election, feat. Prof. Allison Harell
February 2 | 12:30 p.m. | RSVP here
Join Canadian Studies as we kicking off our Spring 2021 Colloquium with Professor Allison Harell of the Université du Québec à Montréal. In her talk, Harell will draw on the 2019 Canadian Election Study to explore the ways in which intergroup dynamics structure vote choice in Canada. She focuses in particular on how partisan identities and political preferences are anchored in key social cleavages in Canada that structured the way in which the 2019 election campaign played out.
Allison Harell holds the UQAM Research Chair in the Political Psychology of Social Solidarity. She is interested in how social diversity affects the political world, especially the ways in which prejudice influences public opinion formation. Her current research focuses on how intergroup relations influence support for both economic and political solidarity, as well as how intergroup perceptions spill over into electoral politics.
An RSVP is required to attend: please click here to register.
Canadian Studies Program
213 Moses Hall #2308
Canadian Studies Program | Univ. of California, Berkeley, 213 Moses Hall #2308, Berkeley, CA 94720

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