Robarts Centre celebrates 40 years of Canadian Studies

Many books standing upright, pictured from above.

Established in 1984, the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies is a long-standing Organized Research Unit of York University that supports specialized research on key dimensions of a critical, collaborative and interdisciplinary study of Canada. As evidence of its far-reaching impact, it has a membership of over 300 faculty and research associates from all of York’s 11 Faculties.

Lorna Marsden
Lorna Marsden

In celebration of its 40th anniversary, the Robarts Centre has released a special issue of its flagship publication, Canada Watch, edited by York University President Emerita Lorna Marsden, a Distinguished Fellow at the Robarts Centre. In it, a carefully selected group of thought leaders recount the history of the centre and its key evolutions in the study of Canada, as well as the establishment of the York’s research infrastructure over the past four decades.

“In this issue, you will find first-hand accounts of key milestones in the history of the Robarts Centre and of research at York University, including from President Emeritus Ian Macdonald and first Vice-President Research and Innovation Stan Shapson,” said Marsden. “It also shows how the study of Canada has evolved since 1984, and the central role the Robarts Centre has played in creating relationships among disciplines, students and faculty to make this possible.”

This special issue is the first of the centre’s many celebratory activities for this milestone year. To help make its important work available to all, the Robarts Centre is working with the York University Libraries (YUL) to release the online archives of Canada Watch, which has been regularly published since 1992. These public archives, hosted through YUL’s York Digital Journals (YDJ) program, will make accessible many issues that were previously only available in print.

“YDJ’s mission is to facilitate free and open access to the work of members of the York University community,” said Tomasz Mrozewski, YUL digital publishing librarian “The release of the Canada Watch archives on this platform gives our community access to significant contributions in the study of Canada over the past 30 years, with new features, including the ability to search back issues by author and theme.”

Other anniversary celebrations include hosting the 2024 International Canadian Studies Summit, being held online from June 10 to 14, in collaboration with the International Council for Canadian Studies and the Avie Bennett Historica Canada Chair in Canadian History.

Jean Michel Montsion

“In recent years, the Robarts Centre has paid particular attention to the lack of support to our colleagues who study Canada from outside of the country,” explained Jean Michel Montsion, director of the Robarts Centre, “and we see it as our responsibility to connect them to some of our experts and specialists.”

With that mission in mind, the free summit, which is open for registration now, will be an opportunity for emerging and established scholars to learn about, discuss and help draft recommendations for better support of the study of Canada abroad. The event will include a Summer School component, which will be attended by 17 graduate students selected from 13 different countries, with many sessions led by York faculty members.

For more information about 40th anniversary celebrations and how to take part, visit the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies website.