Canada: Culture and Society Research (HIST*6231)
Code and section: HIST*6231*01
Term: Winter 2016
Instructor: Matthew Hayday
One of the great conundrums of Canadian history has been the struggle to define its identity. Indeed, it is probably more accurate to speak in the plural about identities, since region, language, culture, ethnicity, gender and many other factors have all contributed to the fashioning of both national and subnational identities in Canada. They have also, over time, contributed to competing nationalisms. This course will focus on the evolution of nationalisms and identities in Canadian history, with an emphasis on how competing nationalisms and identities have shaped the country’s politics, society and culture. It will start with an examination of some of the major scholarly literature on nationalism. We will then turn to an examination of how different nationalisms have arisen and competed in Canada since Confederation. We will also be considering how issues such as gender, class, ethnicity and sexual orientation have interacted with and shaped these nationalisms. Particular attention will be paid to the cultural and political manifestations of these identities and how they have evolved over time. We will examine such cultural phenomena as commemorations, flag debates, parades, national holidays, and other public manifestations of national and regional identities. Through this, we will explore the various ways in which Canada’s national, regional and other identities have evolved, interacted and competed through its history, and consider the impacts that nationalisms and identity politics have had on the country’s development.