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Canadian Studies
CDNS 1000
Peter Thompson

 First Way Canadian studies  Canadian studies have its origins of a left-nationalist movement. Protect Canada from being taken over by the United States, how this early movement of Canadian studies was about keeping people together.  Problems with Canadian studies- Jill Vickers wrote an important paper on Canadian studies the 1960-1970 wave of Canadian studies was influenced by anti-modernism (skepticism towards technology, moving away from countries and into the cities. Diffuse cultural movement that is skeptical towards execrated technology finds value in things like traditional lifestyles, local cultures. Suspicious of globalization, saying expansion of cultures destroys local cultures), that creeped into American society. People who do Canadian studies map anti- modernism into anti-Americanism; USA is synonymous to the spread of culture. Canada is at risk at being destroyed by American culture, tells us that the united states is at risk because of economics (American companies), and how they set up branches in Canada, they argue that Canada sends too much of its natural resources to that states, and Canadians are exposed too much to American television/music/views. First way Canadian studies was about preserving the local culture (we have global culture and local culture, local is about things that stand in opposition to global culture, fast food is global, local could be a random cafe. When they say local culture, they mean Canadian culture) of Canada. Anti-Modernism is a cultural force that still exists, and it is there in television, in many ways anti-modernism is about nostalgia for the past, but it is also about nostalgia about an idealized past, they created an idea which may or may not exist in reality. Anti-modernism is like a fear of a progress or change, things change over time and anti-modernism would be fearing that change. It can be used by younger or older generations, it is a relative thing, wherever you define what tradition is, as if Nintendo is such an old tradition. When these types of views creep into cultures, it becomes limited to what it can do, it tells us that to be a Canadian nationalist, you have to be anti-modernist etc. It makes us uncritical about what nationalism might be as a movement, the other thing that it does is that the anti-American slant of Canadian studies makes it so that it is difficult to do comparative studies with the US. Ultimately, there is something really valuable about these types of the comparative studies, because they are very similar, the dominant language is the same, similar political systems (based in the same traditions), and it sways us from doing comparative studies. The second way that Canadian studies argue is that the key element of Canadian studies in the contemporary era is that we have to understand the experience of colonialism in Canada, we have to understand the history of settlements in Canada, we have to understand the experience of an European culture and how they overtake the land of Canada, we have to understand the legacy of all of these things in the contemporary era. These are the most important things in the history of the first Canadian studies, not keeping the country together which was the main principal.  Problems with anti-modernism-anti-modernism argues that the spread of modernism is bad for Canada, anti- Americanism gets mapped onto Canadian nationalism. The belief that Canadian identify is something that is anti-revolutionary, in the US, what we see is a series of violent struggles where the country is created through war or force, there is a series of moments that are chaotic in American history, where as Canadian history is very much the story of just waiting patiently, for the British trial to enact legislation, things to give Canadians a country. The independence movement in Canada takes place incrementally over a long period of time, in a way that is so gradual that it is not even clear that its taken place. The idea is that Canadian identity is anti- revolutionary; there is a certain amount of comfort within chaos. Canadian studies at this time is very much rooted in the idea that Canada is about to disappear, during the 60-70 there is a fear that Canada will disappear because of the influence of American culture because there is nothing that stitches the culture together. What we see is anything that is related to or associated with the us becomes a problem, pessimistic attitude towards things like technology. As the country gets things like radio, TV, all of this infrastructure brings American culture into Canada.  (Starts n the mid 1990s) Second way Canadian studies argues that instead of rejecting the US, we need to think about the ways in which Canadian culture interacts with the US. There cannot be a simple rejection of things like this; second way is critiquing the first way. Second way Canadian studies scholars argue that we need to think about Canada as what we call 'a settler society', what that means is that Canada is by large populated through a group of people who arrived at this place from the land that existed. Canadian cultures dominant version is a very euro-centric culture, and the scholars argue that Canada has benefited from its status as a euro-centric society. Canadian studies needs to understand that relationship. Second way Canadian studies argues that the first wave was so focused on preserving the country and understanding our relationship with the US (complaining) that they overlooked problems like the environment, mass-communication, multiculturalism and immigration, and what they (first way Canadian studies) did is create a series of myths about Canada. They often use the US as a way of proving Canada is a good country (things cant be that bad, look at the US).  *****The biggest switch that takes place between first way and second way is that in the first way scholars were very invested to figure out what is the same about all Canadians (what is the one thing that makes Canadian societies homogenous), what are the core elements that make up Canadian identity. Second way of Canadian studies argues that Canada like every other country is inherently diverse and instead of overemphasizing what makes us the same, our job as researches/academics is to think of the ways that Canadians are different.  Nimijean-Nimijean argues that all national identities (all identities when we get down to it) is inherently complex, whether it is our national identity, an identity as a member of an age group or our gender or ethnicity, it is all very complex. The reason that we tend to try to make identities stable or simplify our identity is because it is so complex, it is something that makes us nervous, we may never completely understand it, so in order to simplify it we figure out a series of shortcuts, we find some way of simplifying our identity (tattoo), what Nimijean argues is that it is particularly true in Canada because national identity is always a crisis. Partially because we are not sure of why we are distinct of the US, partially because the language issue is always at the forefront, partially because Canada is a country of regions and could be many different countries. What Nimijean argues is that a product of Canadian nationalism is to figure out these shortcuts or symbols that we can attach our identity to, and we gravitate things that distinguish us from the states (wilderness, health care, gun control). The point is that we gravitate towards things that we thing distinguish us from the US. Nimijean argues that Canadians are increasingly confident about their identity, and have adopted almost an obnoxious swagger where they say they are not American and use it as an identity marker. He argues that this gives rise to a series of myths in Canadian society, the way we live life is superior compared to the US, but if we actually look at it this attitude doesn't make any sense because our policies are coming closer and closer to the US as time goes on. He says this gives us something called a redderick reality gap in Canadian society where we talk more and more about how important these things are (hea
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