Canadian Studies Courses for 2024-2025


Canadian Studies may be completed as a Minor or Major Please see the 2024-2025 Undergraduate e-Calendar for information about program requirements.

For any general questions, please contact David Roseman at david.roseman [at]

PLEASE NOTE the opportunity for community-engaged learning internships in well-known Montreal organizations as part of the courses CANS 300/QCST300 and CANS413/QCST440. Both are open to all McGill students.

Please also note that the course syllabi posted here are for reference purpose only. Official course syllabi will not be posted until start of classes.


Fall 2024

CANS 200 Understanding Canada(CRN 1516) Instructor: Dr. Jodey Nurse

What is Canada? Canadians have not always agreed on what Canada is: what its national symbols should be, where its borders are, what stories its history should include, what central values it promotes. Indeed, what Canada represents is not a stable idea, but a debated concept wielded by various actors in the past and the present to legitimize divergent agendas or beliefs. In this course, we will explore these different ideas about Canada by examining some of the country’s defining events and institutions and interrogating many important topics such as colonialism, liberalism, nationalism, identity, multiculturalism, race, the welfare state, human rights, gender equity, public health, international affairs, climate change, and reconciliation. Throughout this investigation, we question what stories we tell about Canada and why, while also exploring the voices and experiences that have commonly been silenced. The assignments for this course are specifically created to allow for a strong overview of these important subjects but also to encourage you to focus on more specific topics for which you have a particular interest. Throughout the course, you will develop important interchangeable skills such as critical thinking and persuasive writing in an inclusive and collaborative environment and gain a greater understanding of Canada.

CANS 300 Topics in Canadian Studies 1 (CRN 1517) Cross-listed with QCST 300 Instructor: Dr. Jodey Nurse Topic: Canada and Food: Connecting Food, Society, and the State

In this course, we will focus on Canada broadly, and Quebec in particular, as we investigate how our food choices are informed by cultural, religious, social, environmental, health, economic, and political contexts. When thinking about our contemporary food cultures and systems in Canada, we need to understand the mediating forces at play, from culinary traditions and material conditions to cultural politics and state policies. Today, discussions of food security, sustainability, and sovereignty are increasingly important, and recent crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, rising inflation, and Russia’s war in Ukraine, have affected the production and distribution of foodstuff and stimulated important conversations about our food supply chains and the related systems that influence the stability of our food sources. This course offers you an interdisciplinary approach to better understand how Canadians’ food choices (past and present) have shaped the nation. Important themes will include the connection between food and colonialism, immigration, national and regional identities, social identities, economic conditions, concerns about safety and security, and ideas about health and the environment.

Note about the ExCELR Placement opportunities offered in this course: For the first time this year, this course will offer an opportunity for a select number of students to participate in an Experiential Community-Engaged Learning and Research (ExCELR) placements with a community organization in Montreal that is working to address food related issues. This opportunity will require participating students to commit to a total of 40 hours over the course of the term. These placements offer an invaluable opportunity to gain practical experience and sector knowledge alongside the implementation and development of course-based knowledge and ideas.

CANS 301 Topics in Canadian Studies 2 (CRN 1518) Instructor Jodey Nurse Topic: Leadership in Canada Who are Canada’s leaders? What is the source and legitimacy of their power? What is the relationship between those who lead and those who follow (or resist following)? In this course you will investigate the notoriously slippery subject of leadership and analyze the topic as it relates to both individuals and groups in Canada’s past and present. Central elements of investigation will include the social, cultural, political, and economic sources of power that have legitimized different methods of leadership and types of leaders; the relational, structural, and systemic forms of power that exist in these relations; and the existence of arenas for contestation and collaboration. Case studies of leadership during times of crisis, including during the COVID-19 pandemic, will also be used to highlight how leadership has been practiced and the resulting outcomes.

CANS 306 Topics in Indigenous Pub Affrs (CRN 1519) Instructor Christopher Reid

CANS 401 Canadian Studies Seminar 1(CRN 1520) Topic for fall 2024: The Lives of Girls and Womxn: Feminist Writing in
Canada with Visiting Professor: Dr. Myra Bloom

In this course, students will examine the ways Canadian literature has shaped—and been shaped by—feminist discourse, with a special emphasis on the developments that have taken place in the 20th and 21st centuries. Writers in this period pushed the boundaries of gender and genre, encoding their resistance to normative social roles in texts that experimented with form and rejected stereotypical models of femininity. They also carved a new space for women by founding feminist publishing houses, magazines, and literary networks that transformed the cultural landscape. Students will learn the cultural history, aesthetics, and political engagements of modern and contemporary feminist writing in Canada. Using an intersectional lens, they will moreover demonstrate the capacity to assess and critique this legacy by weighing how issues of gender, sexuality, race, Indigeneity, class, and language were variously interpreted, debated and often overlooked throughout the 20th-century. This background will allow them to unpack the concerns of the contemporary moment, analyzing how these topics remain both central and contentious in the present.

CANS 415 Black Canada 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

(CRN 1522) Instructor: Dr. David Austin)PDF icon course_outline_cans_415_fall_2023.pdf

Winter 2024

CANS 203 course description not available (CRN TBA) M 11:35-2:25 Instructor: Dr. Jodey Nurse

CANS 312 Topics in Cdn Public Affairs 2 (CRN 1367) Instructor: Dr. Jodey Nurse Topic: Values and Public Affairs

What are Canada’s core values? How are these values reflected in our society? In what ways are these values taught and communicated? These are just some of the questions you will encounter in CANS 312. In this course, you will investigate a variety of Canadian public affairs topics to examine what they reveal about Canadian values. This will include analyses of Canadian political institutions, policies, media, corporations, non-profits, community groups, and citizens. You will explore what Canadians purport to value in their society, how those values are reflected in public and private institutions and organizations (or not), and how values are taught and communicated more generally. You will also examine how sets of values or attitudes in Canada have changed over time and the resulting effect. These topics will be discussed in lectures and group discussions and addressed through persuasive writing and research assignments that allow you to develop your knowledge, critical thinking, and writing and communication skills.

CANS 315 Indigenous Art and Culture(CRN 1368) PDF icon arth_315_final_syllabus.pdf

CANS 402 Canadian Studies Seminar 2 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

(CRN 1369) Visiting Professor Jean Michel Montsion: Canadian Gateway Cities and Urban Democracy

Government investments in transportation infrastructure projects are of crucial importance for
many public and private stakeholders, municipalities, businesses and communities in Canada
and elsewhere. These investments are generally linked to the geography of a port city or cityregion
in distribution networks, global value chains and the knowledge economy. In this course,
we will examine how Canadian gateway cities connect local communities and regions to
international distribution and production networks. By focusing on the federal government’s
framing of Canadian gateways and trade corridors since 2007, we will look at how Canadian
city-regions rely on and formulate their plans in terms of hard infrastructure (i.e., rails, roads,
ports, airports) and soft infrastructure (i.e., immigration regulations, business incentives) to
connect internationally and prosper. We will pay particular attention to citizen participation in
the development and implementation of these gateway designs and the repercussions on the
communities that are directly affected. We will rely on case studies and themes to illustrate the
opportunities, successes and challenges associated with gateway projects (i.e., their design and
implementation) within the Canadian context, while contrasting them to similar gateway
projects in South America, Asia and Europe.

CANS 413 Canada and Quebec Seminar 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

(CRN 1371) Cross-listed with QCST 440. Contemporary Issues in Québec. Narratives of Quebec: Exploring Identities from Communities to Neighborhoods. Instructor: Dr Roderick MacLeod

Seminar designed for U3 students. Open to all McGill students.

Class schedule : Fridays 1135-1425

For information: stephan.gervais [at]

How do communities and neighborhoods play an important role in defining a sense of identity? What are the main narratives and key assumptions made around the sense of identity to Quebec and to diverse communities and neighborhoods? This course will encourage students to explore how different communities in Quebec, both urban and rural, from the nineteenth century to the present day, have expressed a sense of identity. The narratives with which identity has been expressed can take the form of a shared sense of history (often, to an extent, imagined or sanitized), the experience of formative institutions (school above all, but also community centres, libraries, etc), and solidarity in the face of prejudice or oppression. Students will have an opportunity to meet these custodians of narrative and to work directly with community organizations through Experiential Community Engaged Learning and Research placement.

Language of instruction is English. Passive language skills in French are necessary.

CANS 420 Shaping Public Affairs: Canada 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

(CRN 1372) Instructor: Dr. Jodey Nurse PDF icon cans_420_course_syllabus.pdfThis course explores key aspects of public affairs in Canada. Public affairs combines community-stakeholder-public engagement with policy analysis, and through this course you will be introduced to various stakeholders and organizations and learn about how they forge relationships with the public and work to influence, analyze, or communicate governmental and nongovernmental actions and decisions. As Canadian society has shifted, so too has public affairs practice, and therefore you will also learn about how public affairs as a field has evolved over time. This is a seminar course that encourages collaborative exchanges and a shared learning environment. Numerous guest lecturers have been invited to speak to the class about their experiences in public affairs in Canada or about their related research. This course offers a remarkable opportunity for you to engage with these professionals and researchers to better understand how public affairs practitioners engage stakeholders, explain policies, and assist policy makers.

**Note: CANS 408, 480, 481, 492D1, 492D2, 499 - students must find their own supervisor for these courses. For any questions, please contact David Roseman at david.roseman [at] Please note that all students considering an internship (CANS 499) need to follow procedures outlined here:

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