Canadian Studies Program

Royal Canadian Mounted Police on the UC Berkeley campus.
Photo: Keegan Houser

Established in 1982, the Canadian Studies Program at the University of California, Berkeley is the preeminent U.S.-based program of its kind west of the Rockies.  A vibrant academic center, it supports research and teaching about Canada and presents intellectually rigorous public programming. The Program seeks to deepen academic and public understanding of Canada and of relations between the U.S. and Canada. It enjoys particular strength on issues of immigration, the Arctic, the environment, energy and native peoples. The Program serves as a nexus for Canadians and friends of Canada in the Bay Area and beyond, including UC Berkeley’s growing population of Canadian students, as well faculty, policy-makers, technology leaders, and members of the public who seek a “beyond the headlines” analysis of issues in Canada.

Over the 2013-15 period, the Canadian Studies program has:

  • Organized public symposia and conferences, attended by a wide audience of Canadians and friends of Canada in the San Francisco Bay area. These events included a US-Canada constitutional law conference that included former Supreme Court Justice Ian Binnie, and a symposium on public higher education featuring former UC-Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau and former McGill University Principal Heather Munroe-Blum. 
  • Hosted 26 luncheon colloquia, given by renowned academics and public figures.  Our speakers have included Governor General of Canada, David Johnston and former Clerk of the Canadian Privy Council, Kevin Lynch.
  • Facilitated five “Canada in the Classroom” events, which bring scholars of Canada into undergraduate classrooms to educate students about Canada.  For example, in 2014, Visiting Scholar and John A. Sproul Fellow Ian Urquhart (Political Science, University of Alberta) lectured about the politics of the Alberta oil sands in an Environmental Issues course and in 2015, Sproul Fellow Laurie Mercier (History, University of Western Washington)spoke in a labor history course about gender and work in industrial communities of western Canada and the United States.

The Canadian Studies program also administers an undergraduate prize, two grant programs and a Fulbright visiting chair.

  • The Rita Ross Undergraduate Prize in Canadian Studies honors the student who has written the best undergraduate research paper or produced the best original project that engages with topics, people or events related to Canada.  Recipients receive a certificate and monetary prize.
  • The Edward Hildebrand Fellowship supports graduate student research related to Canada, awarding research grants for summer, fall and spring semesters.  These are competitive, merit-based awards.
  • The John A. Sproul Research Fellowship program provides modest stipends to visiting scholars whose research or work speaks directly to Canadian Studies themes.  Visitors are at UC-Berkeley for one month to one academic year.  Sproul Fellows share their research in the program’s luncheon colloquium.
  • The program also hosts the Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in Canadian Studies, held bya prominent scholar or thought-leader chosen through a competitive selection process by Fulbright Canada.   

The Canadian Studies Program is directed by the Thomas Garden Barnes Chair in Canadian Studies, established in 2005 to recognize the late Professor Thomas Barnes’s long service to the Program. The distinguished Canadianist Nelson H.H. Graburn, Professor of Anthropology at Berkeley and Co-Director of the Canadian Studies Program from 1986 to 2012, was the first holder of the Barnes Chair. In 2012, Irene Bloemraad, Professor of Sociology, assumed the Barnes Chair and Directorship.

In 2012-2013 the Program celebrated its 30th anniversary with two days of special events and publication of a pamphlet on the Program’s history. Details about the program’s history, its events and past conferences can be viewed on the website.

Irene Bloemraad
(510) 642-4287
Staff contact
Elliott Smith
(510) 642-0531
Mailing address

213 Moses Hall #2308
Berkeley, CA  94720-2308