Courses on Canada at UC Berkeley

Faculty and departments across campus offer a range of courses relevant to Canadian Studies. As an interdisciplinary program, Canadian Studies encourages students to take classes acrosss a variety of disciplines.

Spring 2024

Indigenous Art in the Americas (THEATER R1B 006)

Instructor: Patricia Gomes
4 units | Tu, Th | 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Latimer 121 | Class #: 19890

This is a reading and composition course that will primarily focus on teaching student skills for successfully writing essays for their university courses, conduct research, and will also encourage students to build critical and careful vocabularies around race, gender, and non-Western art practices. We will be looking at a number of Indigenous art practices—including poetry, film, dance, photography, and textiles - from across South, Central, and North America. Works studied will include Anishinaabekwe (Ojibwe) artist Rebecca Belmore’s 1991 performance Ayum-ee-aawach Oomama-mowan. Students will consider how these makers, artists, writers, and activists use various methods of art practice to consider themes of land, life, story, Indigenous futures. To not homogenize or collapse Indigenous art practices, we will address each artist's specific nation, important Indigenous histories, and political activism occurring alongside the production of art at that time. Lastly, this course approaches performance and identity through an intersectional framework.

The Yellow Woman: Performing Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Asian Diaspora (THEATER R1A 004)

Instructor: Lena Chen
4 units | Tu, Th | 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Latimer 122 | Class #: 22085

What does the figure of the Asian woman reveal about the racial, gendered, and sexual dynamics of the dominant culture from which it emerges? How do Asian women artists wrestle with and take agency over their representation? This interdisciplinary course considers the Asian woman as an exoticized and fetishized subject through the lens of visual and performance studies. We will analyze contemporary theater, film, and performance art from the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada, including work by Sin Wai Kin and Chun Hua Catherine Dong. Centering their own bodies as the primary medium and often engaging the participation of spectators, these artists challenge, subvert, and reappropriate ideas of Asian femininity and Oriental otherness.

This course prepares students to write at a university level and fulfills the first half of the Reading and Composition requirement.

Fall 2023

The Seminar on Criticism: Canadian Songs 1960-1999 (ENGLISH 100)

Instructor: Kristin Hanson
4 units | M, W | 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Wheeler 301 | Class #: 32318

The latter half of the 20th century was a remarkable period in Canadian songwriting.  The so-called “folk revival” and coffeehouse scene made those years remarkable for songwriting in many cultures; but in Canada, they coincided with a transformative period of political and cultural self-definition, in which Canada restructured its colonial relationship with Great Britain, and various component parts renegotiated their relationships with Canada itself.  While some songwriters in this period built careers that made them well known in the U.S., others, especially those drawn to depictions of Canadian regions, historical events and cultural traditions, remain less, or differently, known here.  As a course in English literature, this course’s engagement with this material will necessarily be partial - songs combine two arts, poetry and music, of which it will focus on poetry; and Canada recognizes several official languages, of which it will focus on English.  Nonetheless, for a seminar in criticism even this partial perspective on these songs should afford ample material for exploring a body of literature in its own right and in relation to its context, and students will be welcome to develop broader connections in their final papers.  And of course, the course will also address the value for poetry of universal health care.

Introduction to French Linguistics (FRENCH 146A)

Instructor: Mairi-Louise McLaughlin
4 units | Tu, Th | 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Dwinelle B3 | Class #: 23152

This course provides an introduction to the linguistic analysis of Contemporary French. The course places considerable emphasis not just on the linguistic system but also on the variation that characterizes French and all other natural languages, including how French varies in different places around the world (including Québec). We use real linguistic data as much as possible, so alongside formal written texts, you will find yourself analyzing conversations, social media, and excerpts from films.

Encounter & Conquest in Indigenous America (HISTORY 135B)

Instructor: Brian DeLay
4 units | Tu, Th | 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Social Sciences 166 | Class #: 31411

The early colonial period in the Americas is one of history’s most traumatic, astonishing, and consequential eras. This class compares and contrasts histories of encounter, resistance, conquest, and colonization in three regions of Indigenous America: Hispaniola, the Valley of Mexico, & the St. Lawrence River Valley. Each section will begin with regional geography and Indigenous/European contexts, and then consider the events of contact, struggles over resources and labor, intellectual and cultural responses to contact, the transformations and adaptations of invaded societies, and finally the emergence of new, regionally-specific colonial orders. In the process, we will be interrogating the dynamics that gave rise to the complex and profoundly unequal American societies of the early colonial period. Discussions will center on close, critical reading of primary sources from all three regions.

Language and Identity (ISF 100C)

Instructor: Fang Xu
4 units | M, W, F | 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Wheeler 222 | Class #: 25821

This course examines the role of language in the construction of social identities, and how language is tied to various forms of symbolic power at the national and international levels. As the saying goes, “A language is a dialect with an army and navy” – but how so? Questions about language have been central to national culture and identity, and the languages we speak often prove, upon close examination, not to be the tongues of ancestors but invented traditions of political significance. People have also encoded resistance into non-official and ambiguous languages even as the state has attempted to devalue them as inferior forms of expression. Drawing on case studies from Southeast Asia, Europe, Canada, and the U.S., we will pay special attention to topics such as the legitimization of a national language, the political use of language in nation-building processes, the endangerment of Indigenous languages, and processes of linguistic subordination and domination.  This course will be interdisciplinary in its attempt to understand language in terms of history, politics, anthropology and sociology. We will not only study how language has been envisioned in planning documents and official language policy, but also analyze how speakers enact, project, and contest their culturally specific subject positions according to their embodied linguistic capital.

Comparative Equality Law (LEGALST 137)

Instructor: Lindsay Elizabeth Harris
3 units | Th | 8:00 am - 10:00 am
Online | Class #: 25359

Comparative Equality Law uses a problem-based approach to examine how the law protects equality rights in different jurisdictions. The course will comparative several national, regional, and international legal systems, including that of Canada, and provide a global overview of legal protection from and legal responses to inequalities. The course covers five topic modules: theories and sources of equality law; employment discrimination law (race, sex, age, disability, LGBTQ+); secularism, human rights and the legal rights of religious minorities; sexual harassment/Violence; affirmative action (race, caste, origin), and gender parity.