Core Courses CDST 350 and CDST 450

CDST 350B Imagining the Nation: Canada 19th and 20th centuries    3 credits

Term 2: M-W. 3:00-4:00 pm; BUCH B 215       Instructor: Prof. Michel Ducharme


Course Description

This course examines the evolution of the concept of nation in Canada, the different forms of nationalism it has inspired from the middle of the nineteenth-century in French and English Canada to the second Quebec independence referendum in 1995 and beyond. It examines the tensions inherent to Canadian nation-building process.


Learning Objectives and Learning Outcomes

In this course, students will develop an understanding of the emergence and evolution of different national identities in Canada over the last 200 years. They will become familiar with the following topics:

  • the theoretical differences between different concepts of nation and nationalism
  • the relationship between the concepts of race, ethnicity and nation
  • the origins of different national identities in Canada in the 19th century (French Canadian, English Canadian, Acadian, and Métis identities)
  • the political struggles between different national groups over the nature of Canada in the 19th and 20th centuries
  • the major transformations of the 1960s which led to current forms of national discourses and nationalisms

This course will also sharpen students’ analytic skills in reading, writing, and oral presentation, and encourage them to question received authority of all kind. Accordingly, students will be required to participate in weekly discussions about a specific relevant theme. They will also have to write  an analytic essay on an issue relating to one aspect of Canadian nationalism. These assignments are designed to develop students’ knowledge about nationalism in Canada, as well as their reading, writing and research skills.


CDST 450B (Senior seminar in Canadian studies) Poetics of Warning: Canadian Environmental Art, Film, and Literature  3 credits

Term 2, Wed  9:00- 12:00   Prof.  Laura Moss

Nature has always been at the core of Canadian artistic production. Over the past two hundred years, however, creative responses to the environment have changed dramatically. In the past few decades, with the “ecological renaissance” and the “social turn,” artists are less apt to either passively address the land or render it sentimentally, and more apt to imagine an altered state of environmental change, even degradation. Contemporary artists often look at the effects of human interaction, resource extraction, and economic exploitation on Canadian land and waters. One strand of nature writing employs a poetics of warning as writers speculate on the effects of the tar sands on global warming, the relationships between Indigenous land claims and strip mining, the impacts of oil transportation on British Columbian riverbeds, or the consequences of the genetic modification of crop plants on prairie ecosystems. In parallel to the creative work, much scholarship has turned to discussions of human/non-human interaction, bioregional studies, postcolonial ecocriticism, and the development of the Energy Humanities. In this course we will read global critical work about the environment alongside fiction, poetry, drama, film, and visual art. We will begin with nineteenth-century artistic responses to the land then trace the history of environmental engagements in Canada. We will end by exploring how collaborative poetic projects have functioned as a kind of political activism for environmental causes as we look at how artists have addressed government decisions about water rights and oil and gas development through communally created and published poetry.