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Narrating Canadian Political Science: History Revisited: Presidential Address to the Canadian Political Science Association Toronto, Ontario May 30, 2017

  • Yasmeen Abu-Laban
  • Please note an addendum has been issued for this article.
Abstract

In this address, I argue that the organizational and ideational evolution of political science is closely interconnected with Canada’s history and unequal social relations since Confederation. This is because organized political science in Canada was really at heart a national venture. As a consequence, in order to understand the ideas animating early political scientists we have to consider Canada’s foundational status as a settler colony in the North American space, with a privileged place in the British Empire. This perspective may also help to highlight the distinct features of the colonial present which are giving rise to multiple sites of knowledge production-or multiple knowledges.

Dans cette allocution, je soutiens que l'évolution institutionnelle et conceptuelle de la science politique est étroitement liée à l'histoire du Canada et à l'inégalité des relations sociales depuis la Confédération. Cela s'explique, je crois, par le fait que la science politique au Canada a vraiment été une discipline liée à l'entreprise nationale. Par conséquent, pour comprendre les idées qui ont animé les premiers politologues, nous devons considérer le statut fondamental du Canada comme une colonie de colons dans l'espace nord-américain, avec une place privilégiée dans l'Empire britannique. Cette perspective peut également aider à mettre en évidence les caractéristiques distinctes de l'héritage colonial aujourd'hui qui donnent lieu à de multiples sites de production de connaissances toujours liées à cet héritage.

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Corresponding author
Department of Political Science, The University of Alberta, Edmonton AB, T6G 2H4, email: yasmeen@ualberta.ca
Footnotes
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For helpful comments I thank political science colleagues Linda Cardinal, Matt James, Kiera Ladner, Nisha Nath, Tim Nieguth, Michael Orsini and Daniel Salée, and for their assistance in publication, my thanks to past and current English-language editors Graham White and Brenda O'Neill. For research assistance, I thank University of Alberta Ph.D. candidates Emrah Keskin and Justin Leifso. A special thank you to artist Kent Monkman for so generously sharing his work with the political science community.

Footnotes
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Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique
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An addendum has published for this article: