The Canada Program 2013–2014

The Canada Program has concluded another successful year with the support of the William Lyon Mackenzie King Endowment. The program hosted two annual visiting professorships with accomplished scholars engaged in comparative teaching and research on Canada, supported student dissertation and thesis research on Canadian topics, presented distinguished speakers through the popular Canada Seminar, and organized an annual faculty conference. The program now looks toward the 2013–2014 academic year and prepares to welcome an incoming cohort of affiliates no less achieving or promising than those who have gone before.

Canada Program History

The William Lyon Mackenzie King 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. Mackenzie King, a Harvard graduate, 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 the book, 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 (1921–1930 and 1935–1948).

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. At the time, Bissell’s research assistant was Michael Bliss, now a distinguished Canadian historian, author, and former University of Toronto professor. Their time at Harvard was, as Bliss recently noted, “one of the happiest years of our lives.”


Francine McKenzie joined the program as the William Lyon Mackenzie King Visiting Professor of Canadian Studies. Appointed through the Department of History, Professor McKenzie, an associate professor of history at Western University, instructed two courses: Planning for Peace during the Second World War (fall 2012), and The Decolonization of Canada 1867–1967 (spring 2013). Professor McKenzie also developed a seminar series of ten speakers that included a presentation by Ken Dryden, author, lawyer, politician, and former goalie for the Montreal Canadiens; an affiliates’ evening and conversation with Canadian Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Abella; and a spring 2013 faculty conference on Race and Identity, Interests, and Interactions in Canada’s International History.

Ben Herzog, appointed through the Department of Sociology, served as the William Lyon Mackenzie King Research Fellow. Professor Herzog, formerly the Pierre Keller Post-Doctoral Fellow in Transatlantic Relations at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University, offered two undergraduate courses: Nationalism and Society (fall 2012), and Democratic Citizenship in the Modern World (spring 2013).

The Program also collaborated with International Legal Studies at Harvard Law School, to present Madame Justice Abella on a panel of esteemed guests speaking on the state of legal education. Since 2008, the Program has awarded more than $400,000 to more than thirty Harvard students, whose research has a fifty-percent focus on Canadian topics, for summer travel and foreign language grants, thesis, and pre- and mid-dissertation, and completion fellowships. In 2012, eight graduate and two undergraduate student affiliates, known as Canada Research Fellows, rounded out the Program’s annual group of affiliates. The Canada Research Fellows, representing Harvard College, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Graduate School of Education, Graduate School of Design, and Harvard School of Public Health, were awarded grants for their work on Canadian topics, in the disciplines of economics, sociology, architecture, music, visual studies, anthropology, and in the Committee on Social Studies. One of the Canada Research Fellows focused their research on university access and success for refugees. Another graduate student, whose research concerns financial regulation, had the opportunity to connect with one of the Program’s seminar speakers, Tim Lane, deputy governor of the Bank of Canada. “I was able to ask him questions about important aspects of financial regulation in Canada—and the information he provided at his lecture, and at the dinner afterward, has informed my dissertation,” she says. “I knew that the generous financial support from the Canada Program would help advance my research, because it covers the expenses of visiting relevant Canadian archives and interviewing regulators at the Office for Supervision of Financial Institutions (OSFI). But I didn’t realize that the connections I could make through the Canada Program would turn out to be so helpful.”


George Elliott Clarke, poet laureate of the City of Toronto and a professor of English at the University of Toronto, will join the Canada Program as the William Lyon Mackenzie King Visiting Professor of Canadian Studies. Professor Clarke will be appointed through Harvard’s Department of English, and he will teach one graduate course, Black ‘Epics’ of the Americas (spring 2014), and one undergraduate course, Black Like Who? (fall 2013), while organizing the year’s seminar series and a faculty conference.

Jacob Remes, assistant professor and mentor of public affairs and history at Metropolitan Center State University of New York Empire State College, in Brooklyn, New York, will be the William Lyon Mackenzie King Research Fellow. Professor Remes will be appointed through the Department of History and will teach two courses: a fall 2013 pro-seminar, Readings on 19th and 20th Century Canada, and the spring 2014 conference course, Migration and Relations between Canada and the United States.

Ten student Canada Research Fellows will join the Program, two of whom will receive full dissertation completion grants, again, representing many schools and disciplines from the University. Their research interests include: rural adaptability to climate instability and the plight of remote indigenous communities, health care delivery organizations in Canada and the United States, and the Canadian pianist Glenn Gould.