Canada Program

The Canada Program, made possible by the William Lyon Mackenzie King endowment, presents rich intellectual opportunities for Canadian studies at Harvard: graduate and undergraduate courses offered by distinguished visiting Canadian scholars across the social sciences and professional schools, dissertation research grants for Harvard graduate students, thesis research and travel funding for Harvard undergraduates, a vibrant seminar series of esteemed Canadian guest speakers, and an annual faculty-led conference.

The endowment was established in 1967 following a campaign spearheaded by David Rockefeller, who wished to honor William Lyon Mackenzie King (1874–1950), a great friend of his father, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. A Harvard graduate, King was deputy minister of labour in Canada when, in 1914, he was recruited as an industrial consultant tasked with brokering an agreement between management and labor workers at the Rockefeller-controlled Colorado Fuel and Iron Company. According to Harvard's Directory of Named Chairs, a dispute between management and labor had resulted in “a long, bitter and bloody strike against the company.” And, “[w]hile Rockefeller hoped King would help extricate his company from a labor dilemma which he believed had been badly handled, he had a larger purpose in urging the Rockefeller Foundation to use the Colorado situation as a means of recommending a plan of broad application to industrial relations generally.” King managed the situation, helped amend public perception of Rockefeller, and produced a book for the foundation, Industry and Humanity (1918). After a time as industrial adviser to a number of American utility and extraction firms, King returned to Canadian politics, took leadership of the Liberal Party, and went on to serve Canada as prime minister for a collective twenty-two years.

In 1967, the president of the University of Toronto, Professor Claude T. Bissell, was named the first William Lyon Mackenzie King Visiting Professor of Canadian Studies. Bissell’s research assistant at the time was Michael Bliss, now a distinguished Canadian historian, author, and former University of Toronto professor. Their time at Harvard was, Bliss noted, “one of the happiest years of our lives.”

Professor Ronald Niezen joins us as the 2018–2019 William Lyon Mackenzie King Visiting Professor of Canadian Studies. Professor Niezen is Katharine A. Pearson Chair in Civil Society and Public Policy, Faculties of Law and of Arts at McGill University, and is appointed through the Harvard Department of Anthropology. He will teach "The Anthropology of Law" in fall 2018 and "Indigeneity, Rights, and the Politics of Identity" in spring 2019.

Anne-Marie Livingstone and Wendell Adjetey join us as the 2018–2019 William Lyon Mackenzie King Postdoctoral Fellows. Professor Livingstone will teach the undergraduate seminar, “Race, Ethnicity, and Public Policy” (spring 2019) through the Department of Sociology. Professor Adjetey will teach the undergraduate seminar, “Binding Ties: African North Americans and Citizenship, 1775 to the Present” (fall 2018), through the Department of History.

Professor Charmaine Nelson, professor of art history at McGill University, joined us as the 2017–2018 William Lyon Mackenzie King Visiting Professor of Canadian Studies. Professor Nelson taught “Oh Canada!: Exploring Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Canadian Art" (fall 2017) through the Committee on Degrees in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality.

Mireille Paquet and Paul May joined us as the 2017–2018 William Lyon Mackenzie King Postdoctoral Fellows. Professor Paquet taught “Principles of Public Policy” (spring 2018) through the Department of Government. Professor May taught “Multiculturalism and Integration in Europe and Beyond” (spring 2018) through the Department of Sociology.

Since 2008, the Canada Program has granted more than $950,000 in dissertation research funding to more than sixty graduate students—some of whom are engaged in research concerning government, law, sociology, history, music, education, public health, and urban design—and undergraduate students, all of whom are known as Canada Research Fellows.

Thirteen student Canada Research Fellows join the program in 2018–2019, with fellows representing the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School of Design, the Graduate School of Education, the T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and the College. 

Helen Clayton is the program administrator. The program offices are located at 1727 Cambridge Street.

Related Links

Visiting Faculty