© 2019

Promoting Canadian Studies Abroad

Soft Power and Cultural Diplomacy

  • Stephen Brooks
  • Assesses the early success against the 2012 termination of the Canadian government’s “Understanding Canada” program

  • Evaluates the implications of the program for Canadian Studies in key research centres abroad

  • Discusses the role of government support of cultural goals, and its broader implications beyond the Canadian context


About this book


This volume examines the history and current state of Canadian studies in a number of countries and regions across the world, including Canada's major trading partners. From the mid-1980s until 2012, Canadian studies was seen as an important tool of soft power, increasing awareness of Canadian culture, institutions and history. The abrupt termination in 2012 of the Canadian government's financial support for these activities triggered a debate that is still ongoing about the benefits that may have flowed from this support and whether the decision should be reversed. The contributors to this book focus on the process whereby Canadian studies became institutionalized in their respective countries and on the balance between what might be described as Canadian studies for its own sake versus Canadian studies as a deliberate instrument of cultural diplomacy. 

Stephen Brooks is Professor of Political Science at University of Windsor, Canada, and Occasional Lecturer at Sciences Po Lille, France.


Canadian Studies abroad Education and cultural diplomacy Canadian studies international academic diplomacy tools of soft power Understanding Canada government support of cultural goals

Editors and affiliations

  • Stephen Brooks
    • 1
  1. 1.University of WindsorWindsorCanada

About the editors

Stephen Brooks is Professor of Political Science at University of Windsor, Canada, and Occasional Lecturer at Sciences Po Lille, France.

Bibliographic information


“This is an important book on Canadian Studies globally. Canada may be analyzed from different perspectives: as a North American nation (Canada-US comparison), an extension of European cultures and traditions (English and French Dualism), and a creator of original policies (such as bilingualism, federalism, multiculturalism, middle-power diplomacy). While the Canadian government's 2012 decision to end funding for Canadian Studies abroad was regrettable and not without consequences, Brooks and his colleagues show that the maturity of these Canadian studies communities has enabled them to survive this setback.” (Hiroaki Kato, Daito Bunka University, Tokyo, and Past President of the Japanese Association for Canadian Studies)

“This account of Canadian Studies around much of the world raises the issue of the value and significance of cultural diplomacy. For roughly four decades, successive Canadian governments supported Understanding Canada, a modest program of cultural diplomacy delivered through academic programs: courses; study tours; conferences; and Canadian Studies Associations world-wide. The book provides a detailed and fascinating account while seeking to both document and assess the significance of Canadian Studies as a ‘soft power’ program of Canadian foreign policy that was terminated in 2012. The authors argue that the subsequent decline of Canadian Studies around the world diminishes Canada’s cultural capital abroad and its ability to promote its interests world-wide.” (Diddy R. M. Hitchins, MBE, British Honorary Consul for Alaska, and Past President, Association for Canadian Studies in the United States)