Who is Canadian? What does it mean to be Canadian? As newer Canadians, ESL students often find these questions to be especially puzzling. In this course, particular attention is paid to the official claim that Canada is an excellent example of how relative prosperity can be achieved for the majority in a democracy even with a highly diverse society. This course will also explore how Canadian culture has affected, and been affected by, a number of major issues: Canada's colonial past; its democracy; its cultural diversity; its treatment of First Nations' Peoples; its corporate world; its spheres of poverty; and its lived experiences of childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. A recurring question throughout the course will be whether a Canadian identity is really necessary at all in contemporary Canada. A related question that will also be asked throughout the course is whether it is really possible to speak accurately today of a single, unified Canadian culture.
The readings and evaluations in this course will help ESL students improve their reading and writing abilities as they gain greater insight into the issues, problems, and debates that inform contemporary Canadian society.