Welcome to a new semester: Check out our new class guide! ūüéí

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

Canadian Studies Announcements

In This Issue:

Program News

  • Check out our new Canadian Studies course list!
  • Farewell to research fellow Nicholas Fraser

Canadian News

  • Alberta doctor takes charges as first Indigenous president of the Canadian Medical Association

Research Opportunities

  • Call for papers:¬†International Journal of Canadian Studies

External Events

  • Nine Canadian films at the Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival

A Message from Our Director

Dear friends,

It is my pleasure to welcome you all to another semester at Berkeley. Whether you’re a longtime friend, a faculty member, or a new or returning student, we’re so grateful to have you as part of our community. Your engagement helps us advance our mission to share knowledge of Canada with the Berkeley community and beyond – whether that’s by attending our events, submitting your research proposals, or even just subscribing to this newsletter. We are proud of the way our little community keeps growing, and we couldn’t do it without your involvement. So share us with your friends, and we hope to see you around Berkeley soon!


Irene Bloemraad, Program Director
Check Out Our New Canadian Studies Course List!

As part of our efforts to increase education on Canada, Canadian Studies has created a new course list for Berkeley students. As an interdisciplinary program, we strongly encourage students to take classes across a variety of disciplines. Our new list highlights classes from across campus that focus on Canada and its culture, either alone or in a comparative context. The following courses are being offered this semester:

  • “Comparative Equality Law”:¬†This course¬†examines how the law protects equality rights in different jurisdictions. Canadian laws will be discussed in a global, comparative context.
  • “Language and Identity”:¬†This course examines the role of language in the construction of social identities, and how language is tied to various forms of symbolic power at the national and international levels. This course will use Canada as a case study.
  • “Monsters and Modernity”:¬†This class delves into fears and anxieties behind modern literary “monsters”, and what they say about society. Margaret Atwood’s¬†The Handmaid’s Tale¬†will be a highlighted text.
  • “Native Americans in North America to 1900”:¬†This course will provide an ethnohistorical analysis of America’s original inhabitants and their interactions with Europeans and Euro-Americans, emphasizing an Indian perspective.

Farewell to Research Fellow Nicholas Fraser

The Canadian Studies Program wishes farewell to our 2021-22 John A. Sproul Research Fellow, Dr. Nicholas A. R. Fraser, whose one-year term ended last week. Dr. Fraser is a scholar of comparative politics, with a focus on immigration and multiculturalism. During his time at Berkeley, he conducted independent research on the impact of possible religious biases in Canadian courts. He also assisted program director Bloemraad with a long-term immigration project, and arranging speakers for our May conference. Dr. Fraser leaves Berkeley for Harvard University, where he will join the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations as a Policy Innovations Fellow. We wish him well in his new position!


Alberta Doctor Takes Charges as First Indigenous President of the Canadian Medical Association

An Alberta-based physician made history this week as the first Indigenous president of Canada’s most prominent medical organization. On Monday,¬†Dr. Alika Lafontaine, a 40-year-old anaesthesiologist from Grande Prairie, assumed the presidency of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA). Founded in 1867, the organization is the country’s largest professional association for physicians, and advocates for medical issues. Dr. Lafontaine is also the youngest-ever president in the organization’s 155-year history.

Dr. Lafontaine was born in Treaty 4 territory in southern Saskatchewan. As¬†reported by the CBC, as a child he struggled in school due to learning challenges, poor hearing, and a stutter. His teachers dismissed him, and predicted he would be “lucky” to graduate high school. These experiences were a “huge motivator” for Lafontaine, who says he was afraid to speak out in his early years.

Lafontaine’s parents were strongly supportive of his education, and believed that his teachers were overlooking his true potential. After Lafontaine was diagnosed with a learning disability in grade school, his parents decided to homeschool him. Contrary to his teachers’ predictions, Lafontaine went on to an extraordinary academic career: he graduated high school at age 14, received his doctorate in medicine from the University of Saskatchewan at 24, and completed his residency by 28.

Dr. Lafontaine says that he hopes his personal background allows him to bring a new perspective to his role. He wants to advocate for people like himself, who felt unable to speak out. And he is making it a priority to bring communities to the table that have previously been excluded from medical discourse, or face unequal health outcomes.

A particular focus of Dr. Lafontaine’s past work has been advocating for improved healthcare in Indigenous communities. He believes that it is important for Indigenous people to see people like them in the medical field, and to normalize Indigenous people in leadership. Dr. Lafontaine previously helmed the development of a national campaign to reduce disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous patients on behalf of the Indigenous Health Alliance, and successfully secured $68 million in federal funding for the project. In 2019, he received the CMA’s¬†Sir Charles Tupper Award for Political Advocacy¬†for his efforts.

Dr. Lafontaine also advocates for healthcare workers, who he says are suffering from high rates of burnout due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Restoring a sense of normalcy and a healthy work-life balance are among his top priorities following years of crisis conditions at many medical centers. And as a doctor in a rural region, he also has firsthand experience with how a shortage of medical workers in many parts of Canada is exacerbating these problems, leading to hospital closures and scarcity of care. He is exploring strategies to ameliorate these problems, which he says have left medical networks in some rural areas on the brink of collapse.


Call for Papers: International Journal of Canadian Studies

Submission deadline: October 1, 2022

The¬†International Journal of Canadian Studies¬†is seeking interdisciplinary original submissions for its #61 special issue to be published in May 2023. This special issue welcomes articles discussing the topic: ‚ÄúIs Canada a model?‚ÄĚ

The International Journal of Canadian Studies is a long-running interdisciplinary journal dedicated to examining Canada from the fields of the arts, literature, geography, history, native studies, social and political sciences. The bilingual journal is published by the University of Toronto Press.

Submissions could explore the place of Canada in the world as a possible ‚Äúrole model‚ÄĚ or simply a model of society, in the past or present times. Does Canada have a power of emulation regarding other nations, regarding which topics? Is Canada a leader in some specific social or political areas? In the field of the arts and literatures, are there any Canadian literary canons?

Submissions (6000 to 8000 words plus two summaries in English and French) are welcome from a range of disciplines and perspectives in Canadian Studies, including, but not restricted to political studies, international relations literatures and the arts, history, native studies, sociology, anthropology. Submissions can be uploaded through¬†this portal¬†until October 1, 2022. To prepare and submit your submission, follow the ‚ÄúGuideline for authors‚ÄĚ. All articles will undergo double-blind peer review. For¬†inquiries, contact the editor (francoise.le-jeune@univ-nantes.fr).


Nine Canadian Films at the Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival

August 16-29 | San Jose, CA | Purchase tickets here

Canada will be well represented at this year’s Cinequest Film Festival, taking place in select theaters in San Jose. Canadian submissions include¬†Carmen,¬†Labour Day,¬†Montr√©al Girls,¬†Ashgrove,¬†Wolves,¬†The Family,¬†Tehranto,¬†We’re All in This Together, and¬†Back Home Again.

Image: Natascha McElhone and Steven Love in Carmen (2022).

Canadian Studies Program
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Canadian Studies Program | Univ. of California, Berkeley, 213 Moses Hall #2308, Berkeley, CA 94720

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