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Oh Canada! Trent University Launches New School for the Study of Canada

New school fuels dialogue and understanding of themes from sovereignty and nationalism to indigeneity and regionalism

Cutting the ribbon to officially launch the School for the Study of Canada.
Cutting the ribbon to officially launch the School for the Study of Canada.

Arising from the collective desire of scholars and students to understand Canada in its local, regional, national, and international contexts, and leading up to the 150th anniversary of our nation, Trent University has launched a new School for the Study of Canada.

School for the Study of Canada highlights:

  • National online dialogue to set stage for conversation about our country
  • 40 faculty focusing on themes such as sovereignty, nationalism, health and aging, indigeneity, multiculturalism and more
  • Trent was one of the first universities to establish a Canadian Studies department, founded by T.H.B. Symons in 1972

The School for the Study of Canada will profile Trent’s longstanding leadership in interdisciplinary teaching and research expertise and engage students in broad ranging projects and dialogues about our nation. Led by over 40 scholars at Trent who study Canada across multiple programs and disciplines, many of them national and international experts in their field, students in the school will be challenged at all levels of study to explore issues of relevance to Canada, and what it means to be Canadian through a critical examination of themes such as sovereignty, nationalism, health and aging, the environment, indigeneity, regionalism, multiculturalism, immigration, labour, and peacekeeping.

“The School for the Study of Canada confirms Trent as ‘the’ place for the study of Canada,” said Dr. James Conolly, professor of Anthropology at Trent, who was recently named director of the new school. “The school will build on Trent’s existing leadership in Canadian Studies and draw upon Canadian-focused scholarship from other disciplines including Geography, Sociology, Anthropology and Environmental and Resource Studies, reinforcing the study of Canada as a central part of Trent’s broader mission.”

The school brings under one umbrella all existing Canadian Studies programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels: the Bachelor of Arts in Canadian Studies; the Masters in Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies; and the Ph.D. in Canadian Studies. At all levels, the school will facilitate exchange programs that will allow students to study across borders, promote forms of community-based research and develop summer internships for students in the humanities and social sciences. The school also plans to offer public lectures, seminars and themed symposiums.

National Online Dialogue to Set Stage for Conversation about our Country

One of the first initiatives of the School for the Study of Canada will be supporting the Canadian Difference project, a partnership between Trent and the philanthropic leadership of Ontario-based executives William A. Macdonald and William R.K. Innes. The project is set to evolve into a bilingual online community dedicated to encouraging open and thoughtful discussion about “What makes Canada work?” and “What could make Canada work?” Centred around a number of topical issues, and with mutual accommodation as an underlying theme, the project will seek to crowdsource a wide range of perspectives and understanding from a diverse audience of engaged Canadians. Grad students at Trent will both moderate the forums and work behind the scenes to evaluate the discussion.

A Canadian First

At a launch event for the school, held at Catharine Parr Traill College on Tuesday, September 1, 2015, Dr. Christopher Dummitt, chair of Canadian Studies at Trent University, also announced the inaugural honorary director of the school, founding president of Trent University, Thomas H. B. Symons.

“It was Tom Symons at the outset who headed up the Royal Commission on the idea of Canadian Studies in the 1970s making Trent the first to have a Canadian Studies department in Ontario and the second in the country. It’s only fitting that Professor Symons becomes the honorary director of the new school,” said Professor Dummitt.

Two News Schools

The School for the Study of Canada is one of two schools that have been developed at Trent. Trent is also launching the Trent School of the Environment, which will unite Trent’s outstanding environmental programs under one umbrella in order to connect knowledge with action and research to policy. More details on the School of the Environment will be forthcoming.

» Learn more about the School for the Study of Canada

Posted on Tuesday, September 1, 2015.

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