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Canadian studies

PETER KARL KRESL


Subject Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631207535.1997.x


Extract

Canadian studies consists of a body of work which treats Canadian society and C ulture as its subject. It is to be distinguished from works by Canadians, such as those of Harry Johnson (economics) or Northrope F rye (literary criticism) which have contributed to general knowledge or to their individual disciplines. Considered thus, Canadian studies is only about 25 years old, although many of the most important works which comment on, or which are descriptive of, Canadian culture and society were written or created decades before the late 1960s. It also follows that the work to be included should not be limited to that of Canadians but must also include the considerable body of work done by non-Canadian scholars. Perhaps the event which was most crucial to the birth of Canadian studies was US participation in the war in Vietnam and the concomitant reaction to it by many Canadian intellectuals. Owing to the physical proximity to the United States and to an intense debate about Canada's role in that conflict, there was a profound examination of Canada as a nation and a serious effort to discern what was distinctive about Canada, and indeed, what differentiated it specifically from the United States. This quest for Canadian uniqueness was further stimulated by publication of a study by Ronald and Paul Wonnacott extolling the benefits of a free trade pact between Canada and the United ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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