Canada Project

“My Canada” project students envision—they make—a different Canadian politics. This reimagining must be politically grounded; it does not start from a blank slate. It is based in the Canadian politics of the contemporary moment with their, inter alia, geography, colonial history, fragmentations, international relations, and crises. The transformation must also be realistic in the sense that it starts in existing relations of power and antagonistic and competing interests (i.e. if a student wants to explore changing federal policy to effectively address the global climate crisis, the power of fossil capital dictates that the issue of pipelines cannot simply be wished away). The project is not pie-in-the-sky fantasy; it is materially grounded. Contrary to appearances, and dominant representations in the corporate media, Canadian politics are always changing. The “My Canada” project demands that students make themselves thinking and acting participants in this change. Through the project, each student answers four questions involving political transformation, synthesized as an essay. First, what political change do I want to see realized in Canadian politics? This question amounts to a diagnosis of what aspect of Canadian politics (i.e. policy, institution, cultural practice) the student sees as not serving her/his interests and/or values. Second, what status-quo oriented social forces (both internal and global) oppose this change and why, and what transformative social forces (both internal and global) support this change and why? And third, how do exist and contentious power relations have to change to produce the politics I seek? These are the realistic political questions in the sense that they require identification of those social forces with which the student can align her/his political project, or from which the student can expect support, and those social forces antagonistic to the political project. They also demand consideration of the manner through which power relations have to be rebalanced in favor of the sought after change. Fourth, how would political change be institutionally expressed? This question recognizes that, once actualized, political change is “locked into” political institutions in law and/or governing apparatuses; that the moment a political goal is realized the will to transform morphs into the will to preserve What is politically possible or “realistic” in Canadian politics is not given or natural but determined by the actually existing balance of power between competing interests. This project empowers students to recognize that another Canadian politics is possible and that they play a part in creating them. Student projects must employ concepts learned in the course and indicate a clear and accurate understanding of these concepts. They must also reflect the student’s own analysis. Projects are not to be collections of quotations, direct or indirect, from other sources. Each project/essay must be researched, not the least because this accelerated course does not have sufficient time to review all of the material necessary to successfully complete the project/essay. Each essay must cite at least FOUR academic sources (i.e.academic books and peer-reviewed journal articles). Do not submit a paper that has not engaged with published scholarly literature. The Okanagan College library has a good selection of databases for electronic, full-text journals such as ProjectMuse, JStor, ProQuest, and Academic Search Elite. Students may use the course textbook, but it does not count as one of the four required academic sources. Additionally, articles from ordinary magazines, say Time or The Economist, and internet sites do not count as academic sources. In order for all written work to be graded, it must be properly formatted (12 point font, double-spaced with proper margins) and prefaced with a cover page clearly indicating the student’s name and ID number. Assignments that do not conform to these criteria will not be accepted for assessment.

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