As historian George Stanley wrote in 1960, Canadian military past is the history of an “Unmilitary People.” According to Stanley the military has existed in Canada only to provide defense in the event of war and that Canadian involvement in wars has always constituted only brief interruptions in a generally peaceful history. Throughout this course, students will question this argument and assess whether this title is appropriate to understand the role of war and the place of the military in Canadian history. The two world wars are considered “catalysts of national development.” In this unit students will come to appreciate the exceptional role Canada played in the wars of the century and how these contributions contributed to growing Canadian identity.

This course provides an examination of the Canadian military experience during the first part of the 20th century by focusing on central topics such as international relations, militarization and modern politics, and examining the most relevant works. The course offers an in-depth study of relevant historiography and debates regarding the Canadian participation to the two world wars. The aim is to focus on reading, discussing relevant work, writing a short essay and providing an oral presentation. This seminar is useful for students interested in Canadian studies with a particular focus on international and military history. Central questions will be how military interactions with other states shaped Canada’s political and social development, and what role and place have the Great War and the Second World War in Canadian history. Special attention will be dedicated to Canada’s evolving relationships with the United Kingdom and the United States. We will also look at Canada’s growing role in the international community as well as the development of the “Canadian nation” between 1914 and 1945. International, transnational and global aspects will be emphasized in this course. Students are encouraged to obtain a broader understanding of Canadian history. At the end of the course, participants should be capable of critically discussing the merits of different approaches and debates regarding the Canadian experience to global conflicts from 1914 to 1945.

Some authors characterize Latin America as a region of ‘Permanent Peace’. Indeed, the low incidence of interstate conflict corroborates this perception. Yet, inter-state rivalry, domestic violence and transnational crime abound in this part of the world, prompting others to name it a ‘Violent Peace’.

What lessons can we take from the ambivalent security environment in Latin America and are they transferrable?

The objective of this course is to look at the evolution of the security challenges in Latin America in order to understand the complexity of its development since the end of the Cold War. The endurance of both peace and conflict in the region offer us more general insights into the overlap and differences between traditional and non-traditional threats, the interplay of structures, agents and institutions and, ultimately, the dialectic between domestic violence and war in our times.

Classes, reading material and assignments in English only. Extra reading material can be provided in Spanish and Portuguese.