Virtual book launch features scholarship of Professor Emeritus Kenneth McRoberts

an open book

The Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies recently hosted a virtual book launch to celebrate the work of Professor Emeritus of political science, former Glendon principal and former Robarts Centre director, Kenneth McRoberts.

Kenneth McRoberts
Kenneth McRoberts

The launch featured a panel, which brought together an international cohort of leading thinkers to reflect on McRoberts’ scholarship.

McRoberts, who was present at the launch, offered his thoughts on the revised editions of his Misconceiving Canada: The Struggle for National Unity and Catalonia: The Struggle Over Independence.

“The subjects of the books – Canada and Spain – have both gone through major crises brought on by sudden surges in secessionism, after long periods of relative stability. These revised editions were needed to take account of these developments,” said McRoberts.

On one hand, the revised version of Misconceiving Canada includes an analysis of Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s distinctive understanding of multiculturalism and Indigenous rights, Supreme Court jurisprudence on Quebec secession and the control of education and health facilities by Francophone minorities. On the other, the second edition of Catalonia accounts for the independence surge of the last decade by analyzing the 2010 judgement by Spain’s Constitutional Court of Catalonia’s new statute of autonomy, as well as tracing the continued impact of Spanish state nationalism.”

Recently appointed York Research Chair in Populism, Rights and Legality, Glendon Associate Professor of sociology, Emily Laxer, moderated the panel, which brought together insights from Albert Carreras of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Guy Laforest of Université Laval and École nationale d’administration publique and Michael Keating of the University of Aberdeen.

“Kenneth McRoberts’ two recent books showcase the comparative struggles of the Québécois and Catalonian nationalist movements for recognition and autonomy,” said Laxer. “Read in tandem, these works illuminate key contextual dynamics impacting those struggles, including: the politics of language and linguistic rights, regionalism and national (dis)unity, and the role of constitutions in securing vs. undermining minority nationalist goals.

“In celebrating these works, the discussants highlighted the benefits – but also the challenges – of comparative research, and applauded McRoberts for simultaneously grasping the specificities of the cases and placing them in dialogue to produce more generalizable insights.”

A video recording of the book launch is available here:

This virtual book launch was held on Sept. 21 as part of the Robarts Centre’s welcome week events, which included an in-person meet-and-greet and a photoshoot for Faculty and research associates.