The Canada Program, made possible by the William Lyon Mackenzie King endowment, presents rich intellectual opportunities for Canadian studies at Harvard: graduate and undergraduate courses offered by distinguished visiting Canadian scholars across the social sciences and professional schools, dissertation research grants for Harvard graduate students, thesis research and travel funding for Harvard undergraduates, a vibrant seminar series of esteemed Canadian guest speakers, and an annual faculty-led conference.
The 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. A Harvard graduate, Mackenzie King 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 a book for the 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.
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. Bissell’s research assistant at the time was Michael Bliss, now a distinguished Canadian historian, author, and former University of Toronto professor. Their time at Harvard was, Bliss recently noted, “one of the happiest years of our lives.”
Francine McKenzie, associate professor in the Department of History at Western University, Ontario, is the 2012–2013 William Lyon Mackenzie King Chair. Professor McKenzie is appointed through the Harvard University Department of History and will teach two courses: Planning for Peace during the Second World War (fall 2012) and The Decolonization of Canada 1867–1967 (spring 2013).
Ben 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, is the 2012–2013 William Lyon Mackenzie King Research Fellow. Dr. Herzog received his PhD in sociology from Yale University. While here, Dr. Herzog will offer two undergraduate courses, Nationalism and Society (fall 2012) and Democratic Citizenship in the Modern World (spring 2013).
Since 2008, the Canada Program has granted more than $225,000 in dissertation research funding for twenty graduate students—some of whom are engaged in research concerning government, law, sociology, history, music, education, public health, and urban design—and eight undergraduate students, all of whom are known as Canada Research Fellows.
James Dunn, associate professor in the Department of Health, Aging, and Society at McMaster University, and research scientist at St. Michael's Hospital, was the 2011–2012 William Lyon Mackenzie King Chair. Professor Dunn was appointed by the Harvard University School of Public Health and in spring 2012 co-taught, with Professor Michèle Lamont, Successful Societies: Markers and Pathways. Professor Dunn also chaired the Canada Seminar series and, in spring 2012, organized a research conference.
Daniyal Zuberi, assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, was the 2011–2012 William Lyon Mackenzie King Research Fellow. Professor Zuberi received his PhD in sociology and social policy from Harvard University. While here, Dr. Zuberi offered two undergraduate courses, Urban Social Problems (fall 2011) and The Sociology of Poverty (spring 2012).
The Canada Seminar, chaired by the William Lyon Mackenzie King Visiting Professor, offers presentations by public figures, scholars, artists, and experts in various fields, and provides a forum for the lively exchange of ideas on a wide range of issues. Guest speakers of the seminar have included former Prime Ministers Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chrétien, Hall of Fame hockey player and former Toronto Maple Leaf President Ken Dryden, Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella, political philosopher Charles Taylor, and film director and producer Norman Jewison.
Beth A. Simmons, director of the Weatherhead Center, is the program's faculty chair, and Helen Clayton is the program administrator. The Program offices are located at 1737 Cambridge Street.