UVM Canadian Studies Program Updates 2011/2012
from Prof. David Massell, Director

The Canadian Studies Program offered a rich assortment of events this past year, thanks in good part to the financial support of the Canadian Government. Our highly successful Ottawa field trip, led by historian David Massell, the Transportation Research Center’s Tom McGrath, and Saint Michael’s College political scientist Jeffrey Ayres, involved over 40 undergraduate students from both UVM and Saint Michael’s. Highlights included meetings in Parliament with MPs, tours of the National Gallery and the Museum of Civilization, and attendance at an Ontario Hockey League game. Several classes also visited Montreal, including Michèle Laliberté’s French course. David Massell, Brian Lee, and Paul Martin combined their seminars in History, Civil Engineering and Literature (History of Montreal, Design for Bicycles & Pedestrians, and Literature of Montreal) on a wonderfully successful two-day overnight trip to Montreal in early April. Highlights included a tour of the Pointe-à-Callière Museum, a hike up Mount Royal, and a guided visit by Adjunct Professor Pierre Deslauriers along the neighborhoods of the Lachine Canal.

Students on Mt. Royal during Montreal trip spring 2011 Prof. Brian Lee with students on Mt. Royal, Montreal Canada More students on Montreal Trip Spring 2011

Professors Lee, Martin and Massell with students atop Mount Royal in Montreal, Canada

In March, as part of the annual Speaker Series, along with the UVM Transportation Research Center and the Department of Geography, Canadian Studies hosted University of Western Ontario researcher Denver Nixon who presented on his study of modes of commuting in Vancouver as part of the Canada-wide “Cycling and Cities” project. In April, Canadian Studies hosted a visit by acclaimed First Nations writer Eden Robinson. Robinson met with six different classes in which her work was being studied and then delivered a standing-room only reading from her upcoming novel. This fall, Canadian Studies co-sponsored the visit of historian Pierre Anctil of the University of Ottawa, a specialist on the history of the Jewish community of Montreal, with UVM’s Carolyn and Leonard Miller Center for Holocaust Studies. Professor Andrew Holman of Bridgewater State College, a specialist in Canadian social and sports history, visited Professor Massell’s History of Canada class in the fall to lecture on the history of Canadian hockey.

We retain a core of youthful, energetic faculty who are committed to the study of Canada on the UVM campus. Regretfully, we have lost Literature specialist Paul Martin, who served so skillfully as program Director since 2006. David Massell assumed directorship of the program. Other Canadian Studies faculty include human geographer Pablo Bose whose research and teaching involve comparative U.S. and Canadian immigration policies, diasporas and transnational relationships; physical geographer Shelly Rayback who studies climate change via dendrochronological (tree ring) and stable isotope analysis techniques on arctic and alpine dwarf shrubs and teaches a popular course on Arctic Canada; Quebec literature specialist in the Department of Romance Languages Ching Selao; civil engineer Brian Lee who is jointly appointed in the university’s new Transportation Research Center and whose research focuses on transportation issues between Canada and the United States; climatologist Lesley-Ann Dupigny-Giroux, whose research and teaching cross the Quebec-New England border; historian Amani Whitfield, an expert in slavery and the Black experience in the Atlantic-Maritime world; and economist Donna Ramirez-Harrington, formerly of Guelph University, who works on environmental economics. Political scientist Jeffrey Ayres, chair of the Political Science Department at nearby Saint Michael’s college, researches in the area of Canadian and North American politics, and offers a course in Canadian Politics at UVM.

In association with the university’s Global and Regional Studies Program (the umbrella program under which Canadian Studies operates), we continue to administer a 2010-2014 NAFTA Mobility Grant from the U.S. Government’s Program for North American Mobility in Higher Education. The purpose of this grant is to support international student exchange between Canada, the United States and Mexico. In conjunction with two partner universities in Canada (Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of New Brunswick), two in Mexico (Tecnologico de Monterrey and Universidad Veracruzana), and our American partner institution Georgia Southern University, the grant sends students from each country to one of the other NAFTA countries. The exchange integrates our academic programs in Global Studies, Latin American Studies and Canadian Studies. In the 2011-12 year, UVM is hosting two students from our Canadian partner universities for a semester’s exchange.

Members of the Program continue to produce substantive and relevant publications and presentations in their fields. This January, notably, historian David Massell’s second scholarly monograph appeared with McGill-Queen’s University Press. Quebec Hydropolitics speaks to hydro policy in the province that produced Hydro-Québec, and to the integration of North American economies, illustrating the process by which American capital and industry drew Canada's resource-rich North into the economic orbit of the United States.