Language and Political Science in Canada

1 Comment

[Note to readers: Not long ago, I was asked to contribute a post to Praxis: The Canadian Political Science Association Career Blog, which aims to “provide practical career advice for emerging and established political scientists in Canada.” I wrote something that essentially contains two pieces of advice: (i) that francophone political scientists need to watch out for the CPSA; and (ii) that anglophone political scientists need to reform it – if, that is, they want to be good colleagues. Admittedly, these two are more polemical than, say, suggestions about how to format one’s CV, but then I am a political philosopher. When the blog’s editors received my post, they asked for changes. I made the changes, but now they’re asking for more and so I’ve decided to give up on them and publish it here instead.]

C’est donc en anglais, la langue réelle de
l’Association canadienne de science
politique, et la langue du voyage, que
j’ai “choisi” de présenter cette allocution
présidentielle.
            Alain Noël, 28 May 2014

I’ve been asked to offer some career advice about working in political science in Canada. The question led me to recall, of all things, the uproar this past summer over that float at the Fête nationale parade here in Quebec, the one pushed by four black men wearing colonial khaki outfits and followed by a parading chorus of white people dressed, alas, all in white. Why did I think of the parade? Bear with me. Someone, a colleague, raised the question on Facebook as to whether it was possible – no more than this – that the four men were happy to participate in the parade. The question seems to me to reveal a failure to grasp the sometimes intricate workings of systemic racism. Which brings me to the case of the political scientists over at the Canadian Political Science Association. … Continue reading