WMU News

Canadian scholar explores country's national identity

Feb. 10, 2005

KALAMAZOO--Canada's place in the 21st century and its efforts at nation-building and constructing a national identity will be among the topics when renowned Canadian scholar Dr. Ramsay Cook visits Western Michigan University next week to present the Second Annual Canadian Studies Lecture.

Titled "Canada: A Post-Nationalist Nation," Cook's presentation will examine Canada as a "work in progress." The presentation is from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 16, in Room 210 of the Bernhard Center and is free and open to the public. A reception will follow.

Cook, currently professor emeritus and general editor of the multiple award-winning "Dictionary of Canadian Biography," taught history at York University in Toronto for 25 years. He is the author or co-author of fourteen books, has edited nine others and published more than 60 articles in academic journals and leading intellectual publications on such topics as Canadian constitutional history, English-French relations and intellectual and artistic life in Canada. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and an officer of the Order of Canada.

Unlike many nations, Cook observes, "Canada has never been an ethnically and linguistically homogeneous community. As a result, nationalism, in its English and French-speaking forms, has been a source of conflict and division rather than unity." While there is still nothing comparable in Canada to the common phrase in the United States, "the American way of life," Canada is beginning to formulate a new concept of itself. Recognizing linguistic duality and cultural diversity, Canada--like some other countries--is putting forth a post-nationalist mission and identity. Cook will explore this development in the context of the growing importance of nationalism in the contemporary world.

The presentation is sponsored by the WMU Canadian Studies Group and the Department of Political Science's Institute of Government and Politics. For more information, contact Dr. Nora Faires at <nora.faires@wmich.edu> or Dr. Gunther Hega at <gunther.hega@wmich.edu>.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 269 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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