New books reflect on being a Canadian abroad; Plus, happy Diwali! ūü™Ē

An item from another fellow Canadian organization in the Bay Area.

Canadian Studies Announcements

In This Issue:

Upcoming Events

  • Panel: “Constructing Canadian Identity from Abroad”

Program News

  • Happy Diwali from Canadian Studies!


  • Board chair David Stewart publishes new memoir about life as a “professional Canadian”
  • Program director Irene Bloemraad compares US and Canada’s immigration policies on “Close-up on Canada”


Panel: “Constructing Canadian Identity from Abroad”

Wednesday, November 9 | 2:30 pm PT | 223 Moses | RSVP here

Celebrate 40 years of Canadian Studies at Berkeley with a lively discussion on how Canadian expatriates think about their home country, and contribute to Canada’s perception of itself. The conversation will feature contributors to the recently-published book¬†The Construction of Canadian Identity from Abroad, a collection of essays that explores the topic from both a theoretical and personal perspective.

The panel will be moderated by the volume’s editor,¬†Christopher Kirkey, director of the Center for the Study of Canada and Institute on Qu√©bec Studies at the SUNY Plattsburgh. Panelists will include Berkeley Canadian Studies Program director¬†Irene Bloemraad;¬†Richard Nimijean,¬†Undergraduate Supervisor of Canadian Studies at Carleton University;¬†Julie Burelle, an expert on Indigenous, Quebec, and performance studies at UC San Diego. Also joining the panel will be Berkeley Canadian Studies Advisory Board chair¬†David Stewart, who recently published his own memoir (see below).

Please note that this event takes place later than our normal Colloquium time.


Happy Diwali from Canadian Studies!¬†ūü™Ē

Canadian Studies wishes a joyful Diwali to our friends in the South Asian community! Today, many Canadians will join the millions of people around the world celebrating Diwali, also known as the “Festival of Lights”. As noted by Prime Minister Trudeau in his¬†holiday greeting, this five-day festival symbolizes the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. It is a time for members of Canada’s South Asian community to celebrate their shared culture.

Diwali is one of the most important and popular festivals on the Indian subcontinent. Its popularity transcends religious lines, and it is celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and some Buddhists. As a result, observances vary by region. However, popular practices involve participants decorating their homes with oil lamps and colorful circular patterns called rangolis, made of flowers, colored sand, or powdered pigments. Celebrations also include parties, group meals, and firework displays.

Canada is home to one of the largest South Asian diaspora communities in the world; almost 6% of Canadians report South Asian ancestry, with particular concentrations in Toronto and Vancouver. So on behalf of Canadian Studies, happy Diwali!

Image: Diwali vector created by Freepik –¬†

Board Chair David Stewart Publishes New Memoir About Life as a “Professional Canadian”

Canadian Studies congratulates our board chair, David Stewart, on the release last month of his first book: True North, Down South: Tales of a Professional Canadian in America. Using a Canadian émigré lens, this collection of personal essays entertains and educates readers about immigrant and national identity, cultural misunderstandings, and belonging in the modern world.

David is a well-known figure in the Bay Area’s Canadian community, and is involved in many local community organizations. In addition to chairing the external advisory board for Canadian Studies at Berkeley, he is the former chair and an active board member of the¬†Digital Moose Lounge, a social organization for Canadian expats in the Bay Area. David has lived in numerous cities across Canada and the United States, where he immigrated in 1996.

David began working on a book project in 2018 to reflect on his cross-border life. After much writing and editing during the COVID-19 lockdown, the final book was released on September 20 of this year. Erika Wah from the Digital Moose Lounge interviewed David on his writing process and inspirations in a blog post,¬†“How Do We Expats Show our Canadianness?”

The final product of David’s work is a book about identity and finding belonging in a community. As a child from an Anglo-Quebecker family, Stewart‚Äôs Canadian identity was contested by Quebec separatists, then again in his adult life as an immigrant to the United States. Along the way, he found himself homesick in the U.S. and opening an immigration law clinic in North Carolina before he was thrust unexpectedly into a role as a ‚Äúprofessional Canadian.‚ÄĚ

In engaging and compelling prose, True North, Down South tells twenty-eight insightful and sometimes humorous personal stories of growing up in Canada and carving out an adult life in the United States. Stewart details spending his childhood in an asbestos mining town in 1970s Quebec, coming of age in Montreal, establishing roots in the United States, and promoting Canadian-American relations in Silicon Valley. Charming and approachable, this collection leaves readers with a deeper awareness of what it feels like to be an outsider, a homesick immigrant, and a bridge-builder for two nations more culturally distinct than they appear.

Image of David Stewart provided by the author.

Program Director Irene Bloemraad Compares US and Canada’s Immigration Policies on “Close-up on Canada”

Canadian Studies Program director Irene Bloemraad, a professor of sociology at UC Berkeley and migration studies expert, was recently a special guest on the podcast Close- up on Canada. The show, hosted by Daniel Béland, director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, brings on leading experts and policy makers for an in-depth look at the ideas and issues shaping Canada today.

The current season of the podcast places Canada’s immigration policy in a global context. Professor Bloemraad was interviewed for episode¬†“How similar are Canada and the US when it comes to immigration policy?”¬†In a 22-minute conversation with Professor B√©land, she discusses how the policies of the two countries differ, where they overlap, and what they can learn from each other. She also explores how politics and public opinion influences these policies, and whether Canada might experience the same political forces on immigration as its southern neighbor.

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.