York prof heads to India as part of Canadian Studies Visiting Lectureship

Chosen as this year’s visiting lecturer by the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, York Professor Daniel Drache is heading to India this week to discuss US President Barack Obama’s Internet-savvy election victory, multinational trade after the collapse of the latest Doha Round, and Canada-US relations.

Each year, the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute selects an established Canadian scholar to travel to India for several weeks to give lectures and conduct seminars on Canada through its Canadian Studies Visiting Lectureship. The goal is to expand knowledge of Canada in India and promote new scholarship and programs in Canadian studies while increasing diplomatic relations between the two countries. 

“This is an important honour for York because it showcases not only the Robarts Centre but York in the role of Canadian studies,” says Drache, associate director of York’s Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies and author of Defiant Publics: The Unprecedented Reach of the Global Citizen.

"Professor Drache was chosen as a lecturer this year due to his depth and breadth of knowledge on globalization, free trade, the public sphere and economic policy," says Sarah Hawkins of the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute. "As a well-respected academic and author who has studied these issues extensively, Professor Drache will provide valuable insight into the roll played by the public sphere regarding economic policy in Canada and around the world."

Left: Daniel Drache

Drache will be speaking at some 10 institutions in six cities – New Delhi, Indore, Mumbai, Ahmadabad, Chennai and Bangalore. He will be drawing on his book Defiant Publics to highlight the unprecedented reach of the global citizen through the wide availability of technology and to discuss how Obama used the Internet to reach more voters, especially younger ones.

In Drache’s second lecture, he’ll discuss multinational trade and what the next steps should be given there is still no conclusion to the World Trade Organization’s Doha Round. Drache will also examine food security issues, which he says are of particular interest to India.

Next to questions about Canada’s experiment with multiculturalism, Drache says in India he is queried most about Canada-US relations. He’ll speak to the advantages and the disadvantages of the continued thickening of the Canada-US border, particularly by the US, and what he expects Obama’s contribution will be in the future.

“Despite this obsession with security, the export of handguns as well as drug trafficking has reached dangerous new heights. North Americans face real danger from the cross-border trade in handguns and from drugs,” says Drache. “Something is terribly out of joint here and the war on terrorism has failed to address these very important social concerns. Obama will have to rethink the thickening of the border…and the shortcoming of homeland security.”

The George W. Bush administration’s security doctrine raises fundamental questions about what Obama will do regarding border security, says Drache. “Obama’s agenda is crowded by the collapse of the economy and job loss. The future of homeland security is part of the Bush legacy, but it is an issue that Obama will have to address sooner or later.”

Drache will be travelling through India for about three weeks. “The visiting lectureship offers me a unique opportunity to interact with a diverse and sophisticated audience and to engage with them on these and many other questions,” he says.

Drache is also the author of Borders Matter: Homeland Security and the Search for North America and The Continental Illusion, and is the editor of several books, including The Market or the Public Domain: Global Governance & the Asymmetry of Power and Big Picture Realities: Canada and Mexico at the Crossroads.