Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Governance, Culture and Identity in Contemporary Canada

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Governance, Culture and Identity in Contemporary Canada

Article excerpt

Queen's University Belfast Centre of Canadian Studies

The collection of ten essays in this special issue of the British Journal of Canadian Studies comes entirely from material presented in Belfast at the behest of the Queen's University Belfast Centre of Canadian Studies (QUBCCS). This Centre was originally established in 1986, one of a small number of such Centres set up across the United Kingdom to further the study of Canada. These Centres are supported through the Canadian High Commission and the Foundation for Canadian Studies in the UK and also receive varied financial and other support from their home institutions. The QUBCCS benefits from a bequest from the Eaton Foundation, which funds each year the Eaton Lecture, the most prominent event in our annual programme.

In recent years the QUBCCS has been under the joint direction of Susan Hodgett and Stephen Royle. We took over from John Othick upon his retirement, when the Centre was reassigned within the Queen's University from the International Office to the School of Geography, itself now recast as the School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology. Othick had been a part-time Director but his sole duties had been in Canadian Studies. Royle and Hodgett carry out the Centre's duties in addition to their other work. Hodgett, currently Secretary of the British Association of Canadian Studies, has recently moved to the University of Ulster, where, as part of the Social and Policy Research Institute, she hopes to broaden the remit of Canadian Studies in Northern Ireland.

There is no teaching pathway in Canadian Studies in Queen's University, rather the QUBCCS encourages and facilitates the embedding of Canadian material in courses as varied as Law, Geography and English. We also carry out research ourselves and facilitate research elsewhere throughout the University. This can be directly funded, as when staff associated with the Centre twice received the Sustained Studies Award through the Canadian High Commission. In addition, we facilitate and encourage others to apply for funding through Canadian sources, and various members of the University have received grants such as the Faculty Enrichment Award. Canadianist postgraduate students at Queen's have been successful in achieving funding from various sources including the Prix du Québec to enable them to get to Canada. A number of publications on Canadian topics have resulted from these efforts in recent years.

In addition, the Queen's Centre makes possible the presentation of material on Canada in Northern Ireland. We host three sorts of presentation. There is a seminar series with invited speakers, usually Canadianists from the British Isles or international scholars who are visiting the islands. Often we partner with different schools within the University to bring over these Canadians/Canadianists and hold joint seminars. We also host an annual conference. This is normally a two-day affair arranged around a particular theme with up to half a dozen speakers. Finally there is our annual flagship Eaton Lecture. This can be either a stand-alone event or arranged within a wider programme. Thus we have sometimes combined our annual conference with the Eaton Lecture or we have placed the Lecture within the Belfast Festival at Queen's. We also hosted the joint British Association of Canadian Studies/Association of Canadian Studies in Ireland Conference in 2002.

As inspection of the QUBCCS website ( will reveal, the topics covered in our seminars, conferences and Eaton Lectures have varied considerably. Nevertheless there has been some consistent focus on issues of governance, culture and identity and we were delighted at the British Association of Canadian Studies' invitation to gather together a collection of our talks on these themes into this special issue of the British Journal of Canadian Studies.

Three of the articles that follow emanate from Eaton Lectures. …

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