Professor lauded for developing Canadian studies internationally

Campus Saint-Jean professor recognized for exceptional work probing Canadian multiculturalism, nationalism and identity.


(Edmonton) Former University Cup winner and Fulbright Scholar Claude Couture has been saluted for his role in the development of Canadian Studies abroad.

The professor of social sciences and Canadian studies at Campus Saint-Jean will receive the Governor General’s International Award for Canadian Studies from the International Council for Canadian Studies during the ICCS banquet May 31 in Ottawa.

“Claude Couture is passionate about everything related to Canadian Studies,” said Ed Blackburn, interim dean of Campus Saint-Jean. “In receiving the Governor General’s International Award for Canadian Studies, he is being rewarded for the hard work accomplished in the past few years.”

The author of 12 books and dozens of papers, Couture was director of the U of A’s Canadian Studies Institute from 2000 to 2010 and editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Canadian Studies from 2005 to 2014.

He spent the 2004–2005 academic year as Fulbright Professor at the Jackson School of the University of Washington. He received the Rutherford Award for excellence in teaching from the University of Alberta in 2006, a Killam Professorship in 2007–2008 and the Confederation of Alberta Faculty Associations Distinguished Academic Award in 2008. In 2009, Couture was awarded the University Cup, the highest honour the U of A can bestow upon a faculty member.

Couture has used his love of history to probe the innate Canadian issues of multiculturalism, nationalism and identity. Specifically, his research and teaching has surrounded deconstructing some of the paradigms used to define Québec and Canada, to deal with some of the stereotypes.

Emerson Csorba, who graduated with a degree in sciences politiques and will be attending Cambridge to complete a master of philosophy degree in politics, development and democratic education in September, says few professors are as insightful, empathetic and entertaining as Couture.

"Our one-on-one discussions took place in a local Belgravia cafe, Gracious Goods, with many of these Thursday morning conversations shaping my thinking on issues pertaining to Canadian identity," said Csorba, who took two courses with Couture, the first of which was a one-on-one reading course on social class and multiculturalism. "Campus Saint-Jean and the U of A are fortunate to have him. It's no surprise he's received the University Cup and now the Governor General's award."

“For me, this is the recognition of 25 years of hard work and dedication for a vision: a country more aware of its colonial past, as well as the negative aspects of that past in the present,” Couture said, adding it is also recognition of the progressive role that the French language could play in that awareness.

“The international contribution of Canada to the study of colonialism and diversity has been important, and I am glad that my work has been recognized as an important contribution at the international level.”