Québec and Canadian Studies

Quebec and Canadian Studies

Founder and Director: Professor Robert Barsky

The main objectives of Quebec and Canadian Studies at Vanderbilt University is to complement and enhance work throughout the University community on issues relating to Quebec and Canadian concerns, often in a comparative perspective. Thanks to a new program enhancement grant from the Government of Quebec, and four years of Enhancement Program Grants from the Canadian government’s Washington Embassy, the establishment of a Canada-US Fulbright Chair, occasional support provided by the Canadian and Quebec Consulates in Atlanta, and infusions from centers, departments and programs at Vanderbilt University, Quebec and Canadian Studies has been firmly established at Vanderbilt in the form of teaching, conferences, research, publishing and inter-university cooperation. In 2009, thanks to a major grant from the Government of Quebec through its international office in Atlanta, we have now initiated a major new collaboration with McGill University, in Montreal, called the McGill-Vanderbilt Initiative (see below). In the coming years, we will continue to:

  1. promote Quebec and Canadian content in courses dealing with the Americas and to sensitize students to Canada-Americas issues;
  2. continue to assist in the publishing costs of Quebec and Canadian contributions to AmeriQuests, the journal on border crossing, relocation and dislocation in the Americas;
  3. promote research and studies in Quebec/Canadian/American issues through teaching of courses, encouragement of students interested in Canadian and comparative Canadian-Americas issues;
  4. encourage strong Quebec and Canadian representation on campus by the staging of conferences, talks and research on key Quebec-Canada-Americas issues;
  5. promote manuals and materials aimed at assisting students with Quebec and Canadian Studies;
  6. promote Maymester courses in Montreal, Canada as well as alternative spring break in Montreal, Toronto and other Canadian cities;
  7. pursue efforts at bringing Quebec and Canadian scholars to give talks, seminars and input at Vanderbilt University events. The Quebec-Canada-Americas lecture series of talks has been instrumental in these efforts;
  8. initiate new collaborative work linking the Vanderbilt University Art Gallery to the Museum of Modern Art in Montreal for a major Borduas and modernist exhibit.
  9. promote Canadian content in courses dealing with the Americas and to sensitize students to Canada-Americas issue.

2024-2025: Vanderbilt University (VU) and the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) establish a new initiative aimed at fostering a partnership in education and research. 

  • a)Exchange of materials in education, research, publications, and academic information;
  • b)Exchange of faculty and research scholars;
  • c)Joint bursary program for a fellowship for a researcher residency in Quebec;
  • d)Joint research and meetings for education and research;
  • e)Joint projects and exhibits.

 Vanderbilt University (VU), au nom du Département de français et d’italien, et Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) établissent cette lettre d’intention afin de favoriser le développement d’un partenariat dans le domaine de l’éducation et de la recherche. 

  • 1. Les deux parties exploreront l’opportunité de développer l’une ou plusieurs des activités suivantes pour promouvoir la coopération universitaire internationale, selon les ressources disponibles : 
  • a) Échange de matériel d’enseignement, de recherche, de publications et d’informations universitaires; 
  • b) Échange de professeurs et de chercheurs; 
  • c) Programme conjoint de bourses pour une résidence de chercheur au Québec; 
  • d) Recherches et réunions conjointes pour soutenir l’éducation et la recherche; 
  • e) Projets et expositions conjoints. 

2009-2011: The Vanderbilt-McGill Initiative.
Quebec and Canadian Studies
at Vanderbilt University was awarded a two year Program Enhancement grant in 2009 from the Government of Quebec to support applications of graduate students and faculty who wish to collaborate with McGill University. This funding opportunity supports research collaborations between Vanderbilt and McGill, and requests can be made for funds for travel to McGill, for lodging in Montréal, or for research-related expenses for collaborations. Applicants are requested to supply a 1-2 page description of the research project including the proposed link with McGill, as well as a budget proposal. Funding is limited to $1,000 per proposal, and is available for projects proposed by any graduate student or faculty member (any rank) throughout the College of Arts and Sciences. Prof. Robert Barsky serves as the initial reviewer of the proposals, and he may be able to assist with suggestions for additional funding from other sources.

AmeriQuests (www.ameriquests.org)
AmeriQuests is committed to the study of the Americas as a way of considering the resources, culture, history and environment we share, from the North to the South Pole along the mass of land and adjoining islands that make up the Americas. We have also produced the a special issue of AmeriQuests entitled Quebec and Canada in the Americas a significant tribute to continued work in this area at Vanderbilt. More recently,Robert F. Barsky, Michel Pierssens and Daniel Ridge edited Vol 11, No 1 (2014): Cultural Modernism in the Americas I: Québec . This special issue focuses upon the emergence of modernity in Québec, and the ways in which this process was influenced by French modernism. Many of the contributions were originally discussed during an international conference held in the W. T. Bandy Center at Vanderbilt University, home of a remarkable collection of works from the modern period. Future issues of AmeriQuests will document related themes as they apply to Latin America, Italy and Japan, on the basis of conferences planned around the theme of how French modernism’s themes and approaches have been understood and assimilated in regions beyond France.

Canada-US Fulbright Grant
In the spring of 2007 Vanderbilt University signed an agreement with Michael Hawes, the Director of the US-Canada Fulbright organization, to foster new and growing cooperation with Canadian institutions. Vanderbilt is currently hosting its third Fulbright Fellow, Karis Shearer, who will present a talk on her work on Wednesday, December 1,  at noon in the Department of French. All Welcome!

ICCS Grant Vanderbilt University’s Heard Library has just received, in October 2010, a grant from the Government of Canada to further enhance its Canadian collections.

Coursework: A range of courses taught by Vanderbilt University faculty contains significant or majority Quebec and Canadian content, notably:

  • Maymester ENG272 From Leonard Cohen’s poetry to Illicit Jazz in ‘Criminal’ Montreal: Literature, Dance and Music in America’s ‘Paradise’ (Media interest in this course has led to an article entitled “U.S. students view city through nightlife, letters”, in the Montreal Gazette, and students in the course have twice been interviewed on the CBC in Montreal).
  • French 294b Montréal, Paris, New York: Littératures et mouvements sociaux, Professor Robert Barsky
  • French 115W The French Connection in North America: Cod to Cartier to Quebec Libre, Susan Kevra, Lecturer.
  • Introduction to Francophone Literature. Professsor Anthère Nzabatsinda.
  • Inter-American Literature: The Twentieth Century to the Present, Professor Earl Fitz.
  • FR 270 The French Literary Tradition: “Passion, raison, littérature”, Professor Robert Barsky.
  • CLT108 World Short Stories, Susan Kevra, Lecturer.
  • CLT294 Issues in Canada/Quebec-US Migration. Professor Robert Barsky
  • CLT278 Postcolonialism and Multiculturalism, Professor Robert Barsky.
  • French214 French Conversation, Professor Robert Barsky.
  • French270 Literature and Law, Professor Robert Barsky.
  • CLT287 Inter-American Literature : The Twentieth Century up to the Present, Professor Paul Miller.
  • CLT285. Inter-American Literature: The Pre-Columbian Period through the Eighteenth Century. (Also listed as Comparative Literature 285 and English 253, Professor Earl Fitz)
  • CLT286 Inter-American Literature: The Nineteenth Century. (Also listed as Comparative Literature 286 and English 257, Professor Earl Fitz)
  • CLT294 The Beat Generation’s Other America (Also listed as Comparative Literature 294-01, Professor Robert Barsky).
  • WS150 Images of Women, Julia Fesmire.
  • Hum/CLT 107W Literature and the Interpretation of Culture, Julia Fesmire.
  • Hum115 Freshman Seminar on Modern/Postmodern Literature, Julia Fesmire.
  • Hum141 Great Books, Julia Fesmire.

In the autumn of 2007, in the spring of 2009, and again in 2011, students in the M.Sc. course in Organizational Dynamics of the University of Pennsylvania traveled to Montreal with Professor Robert Barsky of Vanderbilt, to meet with community representatives, government officials, academics and artists involved in issues relating to intercultural translation and multiculturalism.

Quebec and Canadian Studies Contributions, 2014-2015

Literature and Law Seminar, November 2014, Professor Daniel Gervais, Vanderbilt Law School.

Quebec and Canadian Studies Contributions, 2013-2014

Saturday and Sunday October 5th and 6th, Vanderbilt-McGill meetings held in the IPLAI seminar room on the future of the Humanities, for publication in AmeriQuests.org

Quebec and Canadian Studies Contributions, 2012-2013

June 24-27, meetings with Canadian Fulbright Director Michael Hawes, Vanderbilt University.

March 30-April 1, meetings at McGill University, IPLAI for collaboration on Humanities, Literature and Law, and the Cities Project.

February 10th-12th, Vanderbilt IPLAI meetings for SSHCR/FCAR collaborations.

Quebec and Canadian Studies Contributions, 2011-2012

October 7-10, Robert Barsky presents on the future of Quebec Studies, Sarasota, Florida.

September 13th, Robert Barsky presents the Keynote Fulbright talk, Ottawa, Canada.

April 30-May 2nd, 2012, Vanderbilt-McGill Humanities Summit.

November, meetings with Duke University Press to elaborate new work on borders through the Americas, for an initiative called “BorderQuests” www.borderquests.org

27-28 October, 2011 Institute for the Public Life of the Arts and Ideas, McGill University, presents work on Literature and Law at the Robert Penn Warren Center. Special guest, Michael Holquist, Yale University.

Quebec and Canadian Studies Contributions, 2010-2011
1) Jan Zwicky, Poetry Reading, Monday, March 14, 2011: 6:15pm reception, 7pm reading

Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities

Jan Zwicky is a celebrated Canadian poet-philosopher whose books include Songs for Relinquishing the Earth, Robinson’s Crossing, Wisdom and Metaphor.

2) Charles-Philippe David: “The Return of Walls and Fences in International Relations: New Wine in Old Bottles”, Robert Penn Warren Center, Thursday March 17th, from 4-5:30
Charles-Philippe David has been Professor of Political Science, Co-president of the Centre for United States Studies, and Raoul Dandurand Professor of Strategic and Diplomatic Studies at Université du Québec à Montréal since 1996. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2001. He was recipient of the Jean Finot Award of the Institute of France in 2003. From 1985 to 1995, he taught at the former Canadian Military College in Saint-Jean sur Richelieu. Professor David is a specialist on strategy, defence, conflict and peace missions. He has published a dozen books in English, including Hegemony or Empire? The Redefinition of U.S. Power under George W. Bush (Ashgate, 2006), The Future of NATO (McGill‑Queen’s University Press, 1999) and Foreign Policy Failure in the White House (University Press of America, 1993), and in French, including Les missions de paix sont-elles encore possibles ? (Fidès, 2009), La politique étrangère des États-Unis. Fondements, acteurs, formulation (Presses de sciences po, 2008), Repenser le terrorisme (Presses de l’Université Laval, 2007), La guerre et la paix (Presses de sciences po, 2006), Le 11 septembre 2001 cinq ans plus tard (septentrion, 2006), Au sein de la Maison-Blanche : La formulation de la politique étrangère américaine (Presses de l’Université Laval, 2004), Repenser la sécurité (Fidès, 2002), and Théories de la sécurité (Montchrestien, 2002). Dr. David is a frequent television commentator on Radio-Canada on crises, conflicts, security, defence and peacekeeping issues. He has taught many courses and lectured to a wide variety of audiences in Canada, the United States and Europe.

3) Charmaine Nelson, McGill University, presents “Sugar Cane, Slaves and Ships: The Tropical Picturesque and Pro-Slavery Discourse in Nineteenth-Century Jamaican Landscapes.” Thurstay March 3rd, 4:10 PM, 203 Cohen Hall.
Charmaine Nelson is an associate professor of art history at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Her research is in the areas of race and representation and the visual culture of slavery. Her teaching includes courses on Canadian art, nineteenth-century sculpture, popular culture, the trans-Atlantic world, postcolonial theory, black diasporic art and museum studies. She curated the national exhibition, Through An-Other’s Eyes: White Canadian Artists–Black Female Subjects (1999), also an exhibition catalogue of the same name. She is co-editor and contributor to the anthology Racism Eh?: A Critical Inter-Disciplinary Anthology of Race and Racism in Canada (Concord: Captus Press, 2004) and author of The Color of Stone: Sculpting Black Female Subjects in Nineteenth-Century America (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007), as well as Representing the Black Female Subject in Western Art (New York: Routledge in 2010). Her forthcoming book is Ebony Roots, Northern Soil: Perspectives on Blackness in Canada (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2010). Her new manuscript project examines nineteenth-century landscapes of Montreal and Jamaica, two colonial trade and slave ports, through critical readings of geography, topography, colonial commerce and travel.

4) “Radical Pedagogy: Modernist Writers’ Interventions in the Development of Canadian Literature, featuring Karis Shearer, Ph.D, Fulbright Visiting Research Chair. “Canadian Literature in the Early Twenty-First Century: The Emergence of an Inter-American Perspective”Earl Fitz, Ph.D.Professor of Portuguese, Spanish and Comparative Literature”Concluding Remarks” by Associate Dean, College of Arts and Science Martin Rapisarda, Ph.D.

5) Canadian Grant-Library Support Program, matching grant for the acquisition of Canadian materials.

Quebec and Canadian Studies Contribution 2009-2010

Fulbright and Quebec & Canadian Studies Presentation and Conference featuring:
“Overview of Quebec and Canadian Studies and the Fulbright Program” by Professor Robert Barsky
1) Julius H. Grey, “The Decline of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms:  What it Teaches Us About Our Own Rights and Freedoms in the United States” on Monday, November 2, 2009 at 4:00 p.m. in the Hyatt Room, 1st Floor of the Law School.
2)The Program in Jewish Studies featured Julius Grey, Canadian lawyer and professor, and one of Canada’s leading civil rightst and minority rights advocates speaking on “George Eliot, Eliza Orzeszkowa: Two Different 19th Century Visions of the Jewish Question”, November 3rd, 2009 123 BUTTRICK HALL
Julius H. Grey
is a Canadian lawyer and former professor, and one of Canada’s leading minority rights advocates. Born in Wrocław, Poland, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1971, a Bachelor of Civil Law degree in 1971, and a Master of Arts degree in 1973 from McGill University. Julius Grey is a renowned constitutional lawyer and former McGill Law Professor.  He is senior partner at Grey Casgrain whose representation of clients before the Supreme Court of Canada and the Quebec Court of Appeal has resulted in establishing legal precedents. His academic work has been widely published in Canada and abroad. Julius Grey has been a member of the Quebec Bar and the Canadian Bar Association since 1974. Since 1976 he has been involved in numerous associations such as the Canadian Foundation for Individual Rights, serving as its president from 1985 to 1988. Grey assisted in annulling a stipulation in the Charte de la Langue Française (Bill 101) that forbade the application of different languages on business signboards. Among a multitude of key civil rights cases, Grey defended La servante écarlate by Margaret Atwood, the French version of The Handmaid’s Tale, in the French version of Canada Reads, broadcast on Radio-Canada in 2004, and La Presse Chinoise against a defamation lawsuit filed by Falun Gong. Maitre Grey is a recipient of the Medaille du Barreau, the highest honor given by the Quebec Bar to its members.
3) The Canada-US Fulbright Chair was nominated for the coming year.
4) A host of Vanderbilt scholars, from graduate students to faculty, were granted funds for their work in Canadian and Quebec Studies (see projects).
5)Vanderbilt will host Lawrence Hill, recipient of the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction, Best Book winner of the 2008 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for The Book of Negroes, a prize that brought him to visit the Queen of England (!).
6) A visit by Gérard Bouchard in March of 2010, with a talk at the Vanderbilt University Law School and meetings with students, faculty and administration.
7) Thursday, March 18th at 5PM, in room FM209, George Szanto will talk about writing fiction, and will read from his (and Sandy Duncan’s) new novel, Never Sleep with a Suspect (on Gabriola Island). GEORGE SZANTO’s first novel, Not Working (1982) is the story of a big city cop turned rural househusband. Two collections of short stories, Sixteen Ways to Skin a Cat (1978), and Duets (1989), try to bring some anarchy to an overly-structured universe. Friends & Marriages (1995), follows several interconnected characters over two decades. The Underside of Stones (1990; reprint 2004), part one of the trilogy The Conquests of Mexico, is the story of a Canadian who lives a year in Mexico and finds his life and beliefs progressively subverted and reconstituted; part two, Second Sight (2004), exposes the realms of Mexican wealth and politics; part three, The Condesa of M. (2001; reprint 2005), explores Mexico’s darker religious underworld.

Quebec and Canadian Studies Contribution 2008-9
1) The Canada-US Fulbright Chair was nominated for the coming year.
2) The collaboration with U of Pennsylvania’s Organizational Dynamics Program continued with a research trip to Montreal to meet with Canadian scholars and officials involved with Canadian multiculturalism, intercultural communication and immigration.
3) A host of Vanderbilt scholars, from graduate students to faculty, were granted funds for their work in Canadian and Quebec Studies (see projects).
4) AmeriQuests presented an advertisement in the renowned New York Review of Books for past work on Quebec and Canada, and forthcoming calls for two new issues, which will both feature considerable Canadian and Quebecois work on radicalism, and on dance in the Americas.
5) Vanderbilt University and Nashville have been chosen by the Government of Canada as a site for the Advanced Leadership Program (ALP), the Government of Canada’s highest level leadership development program for senior executives. Participants are usually the equivalent to corporate vice-presidents and are preparing for the highest leadership positions in the Canadian federal government. The ALP incorporates executive education best practices, including sending participants on site-visits to expose them to top leaders and managers throughout the world. ALP participants visit organizations from the public and private sectors as well as civil society. Such a diverse mix of organizations exposes participants to various issues from multiple perspectives, allowing participants to look beyond the scope of their regular context in Ottawa.
6) Vanderbilt University students were featured on CBC radio, describing their activities with the Montreal Maymester, in May of 2008.

Quebec and Canadian Studies Contribution 2007-2008

1) The Canada-US Fulbright Chair was nominated for the coming year.
2) The grounds were set for a new collaboration with University of Pennsylvania through a trip research trip to Montreal with Penn students from the Program of Organizational Dynamics.
3) A new collaboration with Penn aimed at bringing Edith Trepannier’s new Jewish Modern Art exhibit to Penn and Vanderbilt, currently in discussion with a range of Centers and the Vanderbilt Art Gallery.
4) Several new or continuing research collaborations with Canadian content, funded by the Program Enhancement Grant (see below).
5) Robert Barsky joined the Committee 15 interdisciplinary Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council to adjudicate more than one hundred grants from across Canada.

Quebec and Canadian Studies Contribution 2006-2007
1) Expanding the Canada-US research ties at Vanderbilt via the Canadian Studies Programme, the Canada-US Fulbright agreement, formal academic links to major Canadian research institutions notably McGill, U of Toronto, Queen’s, York, UBC, Concordia, Université de Montréal, UQAM…
2) Canadian donors and the involvement of Canadian institutions in programming at Vanderbilt, specifically, the recent Jack & Minna Brussel donations (see the Vanderbilt Registrar article on the sculpture by William Tarr, pictured at right, and the Vanderbilt Acorn Chronicle image from the Brussel Collection) a projected exhibition/conference on Refus Global and Jewish artists in Montreal with the participation of Canadian donors and artists, and government officials.
3) New collaborative efforts in the Arts, including dance and visual art, with organizations and individuals in Montreal.
4) Recruitment of students, undergraduate and graduate, from top Canadian institutions.
5) A trip with Vanderbilt administration, including the Chancellor, to meet with select officials in Toronto and Montreal, including top administrators from McGill University and University of Montreal.
6) Individual initiatives by students and faculty in Canada.

Quebec and Canadian Studies contribution 2005-2006

A host of events in Canadian Studies were sponsored by the Canadian Studies program in 2005-6, the Center for the Americas, the Canadian Consulate in Atlanta, as well as the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities, the Department of French, the Department of English, the Program in Comparative Literature and the Law School, including talks/research trips supported by Canadian Studies by Julius Grey, Professor of Law, McGill University Law School; Denise Helly, director, Ethnic Studies and Migration, Institut national de la recherche scientifique (UQAM); a dance performance organized by Susan Kevra, Lecturer (French and Comparative Literature) at the McTyeire International Center; a preliminary trip by Joseph Mella, Director of the Vanderbilt Art Gallery, to establish contacts for a forthcoming major exhibition on Borduas and post-Borduas art in Quebec, to be held on Vanderbilt campus in 2007; a preliminary trip to Montreal by Marsha Tardy to look for possible collaborative efforts to be pursued in dance, particularly modern dance; a trip by Laurence DeLooze, University of Western Ontario, to consult on Comparative Literature at Vanderbilt, and to give a talk on Renaissance/Early Modern conceptions of “America”. Susan Kevra, has also planned for 2006 a talk and concert by the group “Le Vent du nord.” Le Vent du Nord has won the award for “Best Traditional Artist” at the 18th conference of the North American Folk Music and Dance Alliance which was held is Austin TX, from February 9th to 12th.

Canadian-Americas Lectures 2004-5

  • “Writing Canada/US/Mexico,” conferences and readings by George Szanto.
  • “Marc Angenot and the Scandal of History,” conferences and launch of the Yale Journal of Criticism special issue (Marc Angenot and the Scandal of History, edited by Robert Barsky), featuring Marc Angenot, Robert Barsky, Josias Semujanga, Michel Pierssens.
  • “Reading Group on MarcAngenot,” held at the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities.
  • “Migrant Workers in Canada and the US,” featuring VeemaVerna.
  • Launching of Incubator Group on Incarcerated Migrants, directed by RobertBarsky. As a newly-established Workgroup, this research team, which meets regularly, will have a Canadian team join its ranks beginning in the fall of 2005 (see below).
  • Launching of the new journal AmeriQuests at the Center for the Americas.


Canadian-Americas Lecture series 2003-4

  • December 4, 2003. Robert Barsky and Patricia Foxen. “Refugee Determination in Canada”, Vanderbilt University Law School (Center for the Americas Seminar Series).
  • February 4, 2004 Topic: Julius Grey, McGillUniversity, Montreal. “The Deportation of Permanent Residents on Security Grounds”
  • February 11, 2004 Topic: Howard Foster, Johnson and Bell Attorneys. “Legalizing Illegal Immigrants: Effects and Challenges throughout the Americas”
  • February 18, 2004 Topic: Paula Covington, and Sue Erickson, librarians at the Vanderbilt University Library: “Migration Research Sources and Databases”
  • March 17, 2004 Topic Jim Silk, YaleUniversity. “Possible detrimental effects on human rights protection of an over-emphasis on international criminal justice in the Americas”
  • March 24, 2004 Denise Helly, Whose Dream?” Denise Helly, INRS (Montreal), “Issues of Immigration and Integration in Canada”
  • April 14 Debbie Anker, Harvard University, “Gender and the Refugee Claimant”