Canadian Studies: The State of the Art/études Canadiennes:: Questions De Recherche

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Klaus-Dieter Ertler, Stewart Gill, Susan Hodgett and Patrick James (eds), Canadian Studies: The State of the Art/Études canadiennes: Questions de recherche (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2011), 542 pp. Cased £50.30. E-book £50. ISBN 978-3-631-61599-7.

I wouldn't usually begin a book review by critiquing the title, but in my view the French subtitle 'Questions de recherche' is a better reflection of the book's contents than 'The State of the Art'. The English title had led me to expect a critical reflection on the field of Canadian studies in which contributors might reflect on the place and status of Canadian studies, rationales for the study of Canada and the identity of Canadian studies within and outside Canada. If this was the rationale behind the book I am not certain that the editors fully achieved their goal: with a couple of notable exceptions, what we mostly have here is a multidisciplinary collection of work about Canada rather than an in-depth consideration of Canadian studies.

The opening chapter by Patrick James on constitutional politics in Canada is one of the few which does engage with the 'state of the art'-type questions addressing factors such as 'negative identity', politics and history. …