[FoRK] Canadian, Eh?

Jim Whitehead ejw at cs.ucsc.edu
Fri Nov 19 08:42:38 PST 2004

I'm probably being really parochial and narrow-minded about this, but the
concept of Canadian studies seems synonymous with, say, Australia studies,
or New Zealand studies, or perhaps even Alaska (or Texas) studies. Yes,
there are important differences among these governments and cultures, and I
wouldn't even dream of insinuating that they're all part of some grand Anglo
cultural zone. Still, I have to imagine that most of the time there are
broad areas of similarity, with only occasional (signficant) areas of

As a society, it certainly makes sense for us to have experts on each of
these countries and their governmental systems, but it's not clear to me
that the academy should be focusing on this as research. Don't we have a
State Department for this reason?

On the other hand, there is always such serendipity in the interactions
among people who have deeply studied various topics that it's hard to make a
blanket statement that studying *anything* is a bad thing. (Spoken like a
card carrying academic, I know :-)

I'll just slink back to my Canadian-snow-white tower now.

- Jim

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