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Cambridge Canadian Studies Initiative (CCSI)

Cambridge Canadian Studies Initiative (CCSI)

Canadian Studies in the UK

The Cambridge Canadian Studies Initiative is connected to a larger network of centres and programs for Canadian Studies in the UK and around the world.

Image: Foundation for Canadian Studies

In 1971, academics in the United States established the first Association for Canadian Studies outside of Canada. In 1975, the British Association for Canadian Studies was created in the UK. France followed with a similar organization in 1976, and other countries began to follow. As international interest in Canadian Studies grew, the Government of Canada took note. In 1975-76, an Academic Relations unit was established at the Canadian High Commission in London, as was a Foundation for Canadian Studies in the United Kingdom. Through these bodies, the Government of Canada began to fund a Centre of Canadian Studies at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

At the time, the Canadian Secretary of State for External Affairs, Allan MacEachen, called the initiative a key part of a Cabinet plan 'to expand and diversify Canada's cultural relations with other countries'. The program had four main objectives: to expand the influential community 'informed about and favourably disposed toward Canada'; to raise awareness of Canadian realities overseas; to foster productive exchanges between Canadian and foreign universities; and to thereby improve Canada's bilateral relations. Over time, funding for the Government of Canada's Canadian Studies Program has grown from $250,000 to more than $5 million.


Today, there are 26 Canadian Studies associations around the world, most of which are members of the International Council for Canadian Studies. Canadian Studies programs also exist in 49 countries. Efforts in Britain have led to the establishment of official Centres of Canadian Studies at the Universities of Edinburgh, Leeds, Birmingham, and Queen's University Belfast. Programs of Canadian Studies also exist at Cambridge, Nottingham, Sussex, Hull, and Reading Universities. The University of Leicester features a Centre for Quebec Studies.

In addition, there are three regional groupings, or consortia, of Canadian Studies activities in the UK: the South West Canadian Studies Group, the Canadian Studies in Wales Group, and the London Conference for Canadian Studies. The latter group oversees the publishing of the London Journal of Canadian Studies.

For more information on the history and activities of the Government of Canada's Canadian Studies Program, click here.

Dr Terry McDonald has also written a recent guide to Canadian Studies activities and teaching in the UK.

The High Commission has also prepared a recent brochure entitled, 'Canadian Studies in the United Kingdom: 30 Years On.'

The British Association for Canadian Studies

Image: British Journal of Canadian Studies

Founded in 1975, the British Association for Canadian Studies (BACS) acts as a forum and central contact point for Canadian Studies in the UK. BACS organizes an annual conference, the 2006 edition of which will be held at New Hall at the University of Cambridge.

BACS publishes the British Journal of Canadian Studies twice annually, and releases a termly newsletter for members. The Association also maintains approximately ten specialist groups to organize UK-based Canadian Studies activities in particular interest areas.

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