Christl Verduyn


The Canadian Studies Network-Réseau d'études canadiennes may trace its origins to an April 2005 meeting at the University of Ottawa. A group of faculty and graduate students from different Canadian Studies programs across the country gathered at the university's Institute of Canadian Studies to discuss the desire and need for a new way to ensure yearly meetings at which to examine, discuss, and explore teaching and research interests and issues in common. Prior to 2002, Canadian Studies faculty and students had met at the annual Congress (formerly the Learneds) in conference sessions and events organized by the Association for Canadian Studies (ACS). During this time as well, Canadian Studies program administrators (chairs, heads, or directors) had the opportunity to discuss administrative concerns and strategies. After 2002, with the ACS no longer meeting at the annual Congress, Canadian Studies faculty and students began to discuss alternatives for ongoing intellectual and administrative exchange and contact.
The April 2005 meeting was a positive, productive, and practical-minded one. An annual meeting for university Canadian Studies program faculty and students would be restored through the collective efforts of Canadian Studies programs taking turns as host. A flexible five year plan was outlined, with the first meeting to take place at Trent that fall (2005) and at Carleton the next year in 2006. As partners in the joint Trent-Carleton Ph.D. program in Canadian Studies, the plan to hold the first two meetings at Trent and Carleton ensured graduate student participation from the outset. Subsequent meetings would take place in conjunction with workshops, symposia, conferences or other events that the host Canadian Studies program would organize for professional and practical purposes alike. With this approach, faculty and students could make use of research support funds to help defray travel costs. Equally practical was the decision to operate with a simple steering committee structure. A basic web portal through the University of Ottawa's Institute for Canadian Studies website offered a means for communication throughout the year and across the country.
Plans initiated at the April 2005 meeting of Canadian Studies faculty and student in Ottawa took on added importance in 2007 when the ACS withdrew from the International Council for Canadian Studies (ICCS). This meant that Canadian students could no longer access ICCS programs, including scholarships. In November 2008, a meeting at Carleton's School of Canadian Studies refueled the 2005 plans, and colleagues and students proceeded with renewed commitment and energy to establish a scholarly organization for Canadian Studies faculty and students at the university level. Discussion continued at the February 2009 Mount Allison conference "Canadian Studies: The State of the Art." By the end of the conference, operating now under the title "Canadian Studies Canadian Network" (CSCN), a revitalized steering committee was mandated to look into a constitution and mission statement for discussion at the next meeting in November 2009 at Trent University. CSCN was invited to send an observer to the ICCS's annual meeting in May 2009. Representing the Network, Christl Verduyn reported the CSCN's development to the international Canadianist assembly, which expressed its interest in and support for CSCN's efforts. These efforts came to fruition at CSCN's November 2009 meeting. Great strides were made in the formalization of the Network, which is now incorporated under the title the Canadian Studies Network- Réseau d'études canadiennes (CSN-REC)
In 2010, the CSN-REC formalized its constitution, developed a formal administrative structure, determined a fee structure, and designed and launched a free-standing website offering information and sources about Canadian Studies in Canada and abroad. In May 2010, Colin Coates represented the Network at the annual ICCS meeting and conveyed the CSN-REC's intention to become an associate member of ICCS. This was accomplished in 2011 through the efforts of the CSN-REC's first formal Executive, elected in November 2010 at Brock University, in conjunction with Brock's Canadian Studies Program's annual "Two Days of Canada" conference. Since that time, the CSN-REC has met annually in keeping with its constitution and its commitment to the scholarly, interdisciplinary study of Canada through academic conferences and publication.