Professor Emily Gilbert

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Course Instructor:

Professor Emily Gilbert

Fall Office Hours: Wednesdays 1.30-3.30 pm

Office: UC B301

Telephone: 416 978 0751


Canadian Studies Program Information

The Director of the Canadian Studies Program is Professor Nelson Wiseman

The Canadian Studies program assistant is Khamla Sengthavy who can be reached at

The Canadian Studies website is

Course Description

The Canadian border is being reshaped by the increasing transnational movement of people, goods and ideas. Students will examine border issues relating to mobility, trade, and security from a wide range of interdisciplinary perspectives, from public policy to contemporary media, such as TV, films, and novels.

The course will provide students with an overview of theoretical and methodological approaches to understanding the border. Some attention will be addressed to historical border formation, but the emphasis of the course will be on contemporary border policies and politics in Canada. We will address the role of the border in delimiting state territory, governing mobility and citizenship, and framing national belonging. The increasing securitization and militarization of the Canadian border will be closely examined. Comparisons with other international borders will be encouraged throughout the course.

Course Objectives

In this course we will:

  1. Assess historical and contemporary ideas about and issues pertaining to the Canadian border;

  2. Develop a range of theoretical and methodological approaches to analyzing borders across multiple disciplines;

  3. Foster a critical understanding of the role of borders in contemporary society;

  4. Hone research skills, in particular with respect to developing a clear argument through the assessment of academic and popular sources.


This course uses Blackboard. All course materials, including course syllabus, assignments, course readings and other supplementary materials will be made available on Blackboard. The course instructor will frequently post materials on Blackboard, so students should check the course site regularly. Emails will also be sent out through Blackboard; students must regularly check their utoronto email accounts.

Email Policy

Communication with students will be through their email address. Students should check their utoronto email regularly for communications through Blackboard. All email communications should be brief and courteous. Please do not expect an immediate reply to your email, but every effort will be made to get back to you within 48 hours (weekends not included). ALL EMAIL CORRESPONDENCE SHOULD HAVE UNI368 CLEARLY IDENTIFIED IN THE SUBJECT HEADING OR THE EMAIL WILL NOT BE READ. Assignments will not be accepted by email.

Course Format

This course will include lectures and class discussions which will engage and expand upon the assigned readings. Lectures will be supplemented by film clips and where relevant, presentations by guest speakers. Assigned readings should be completed in advance of the Wednesday class.

Assignments and Marking Scheme:

Critical Response Due Wednesday, October 1, 2014 20%

Essay Proposal Due Wednesday October 15, 2014 15%

Research Essay Due Wednesday November 26, 2014 35%

Exam Fall Examination Period (Dec 8-19, 2014) 30%

All written assignments are due on Wednesdays at the beginning of class, and must be handed in to the course instructor.
Please note: There is a penalty of 5% per day (including weekends) for late assignments and essays. Assignments submitted on the due date, but not at the beginning of the lecture period, will be penalized by 2%. Late assignments will not be accepted after one week without a valid medical certificate. Late assignments should be submitted and date-stamped in the Program Office in UC173. Neither the course instructor nor the teaching assistant will be held responsible for any late course assignments or essays that go missing. Be sure to retain a copy of your paper and keep all your notes and drafts.

Critical Response to Frozen River (20%)

On Wednesday September 24, 2014 we will watch the critically acclaimed film, Frozen River (2008), directed by Courtney Hunt. Your first assignment is to write a critical response to the film and the issues around borders that it raises. Who is able to cross the border, and why? How does the border structure social and economic relations? How does the film resonate with other border issues? These are some of the questions that you should address in your response. The critical response should be no more than 3 pages (750 words). You should consult at least three 3 media reports on current border issues that you directly reference in your critical response. You may consult academic work on borders in your response, but you are not required to do so. Make sure to include a complete bibliography. More detailed instructions are available on Blackboard.

Essay Proposal (15%)

You will be required to write an essay proposal. The proposal must set out the general topic to be addressed in your paper in a one page outline; a tentative thesis statement; and an annotated bibliography with a minimum of five academic sources, including articles, books and book chapters. Two of the sources must be drawn from the assigned course readings. Possible topics will be made available, but you may devise a topic of your own choosing. More detailed instructions are available on Blackboard. The essay proposal is due at the beginning of class on Wednesday, October 15, 2014.

Research Essay (35%)

Your research essay should be about 2000 words (approximately 8 pages) plus bibliography. The research essay will require independent research and thoughtful preparation. Your essay will be evaluated for its use of secondary sources, its argumentation and organization, the originality and creativity of the critical analysis, and the clarity of the writing. More detailed instructions are available on Blackboard. The essay is due at the beginning of class on Wednesday, November 26, 2014.


The exam will be worth 30% of your final grade. It will be a comprehensive examination that will include materials from across the term. You will be expected to draw upon all course materials, including course readings, lectures, in-class discussion, and film clips. The exam will be scheduled by the Faculty Registrar during the Fall Examination Period between December 8 and December 19, 2014.

Concerns about Grading

Questions about assignment marking and course grades cannot be addressed effectively via email. Individual attention is available during office hours or by appointment. The Faculty of Arts and Science only permits the re-marking of assignments within ONE MONTH of the date of the assignment’s return to you.

A Warning about Plagiarism

The code of academic conduct disallows the following:

  • to represent as one’s own any idea or expression of an idea or work of another in any academic examination or term test or in connection with any other form of academic work, i.e. to commit plagiarism;

  • to submit, without the knowledge and approval of the instructor to whom it is submitted, any academic work for which credit has previously been obtained or is being sought in another course or program of study in the University or elsewhere

The University of Toronto takes academic honesty very seriously. Any suspected cases of plagiarism will be investigated. “How not to plagiarize” can be located on the university’s writing web site, at

Writing Resources

University College has an excellent Writing Centre ( that is open to all UC students and students enrolled in UNI courses. They provide individual instruction in intensive 50-minute consultations. Appointments can be made online. The UC Writing Centre also provides a range of other resources; see their website for more information.

Accessibility Needs

Students with diverse learning styles and needs are welcome in this course. If you have a disability/health consideration that may require course format accommodation, please feel free to approach the course instructor to discuss your needs. If you require accommodations for a disability, or have accessibility concerns about the course, the classroom or course materials, please contact Accessibility Services as soon as possible: or

Illness and Absences

Please obtain lecture notes from a classmate if you miss one or more classes and see your course instructor if you have questions about the material that was covered during your absence. Notify your course instructor as soon as possible if a serious illness or other concern is affecting your ability to keep up with the course. It is also wise to contact your college registrar if you are experiencing academic and/or personal difficulties.

Drop Date

The last date to drop courses with an F section code from your academic record without penalty is Monday, November 3, 2014.

September 10 1. Introductions

September 17 2. Imposing the Border

Donald A Grinde, Iroquois Border Crossings

Thomas King, Borders

September 24 3. Border Crossings

Screening of film Frozen River

October 1 4. Policing the Border

Kornel Chang, Enforcing Transnational White Solidarity

Thomas A Klug, The Immigration and Naturalization Service


October 8 5. Securing the Border

Peter Andreas, The Mexicanization of the US-Canada Border

Daniel Schwanen, Beyond the Border and Back to the Future

October 15 6. Border Mobility

Alexandra Mann, Refugees who Arrive by Boat

Amy Arnett, One Step Forward, Two Steps Back


October 22 7. Border Surveillance

David Lyon, Airport Screening, Surveillance and Social Sorting

Brenda McPhail et. al, Identifying Canadians at the Border

October 29 8. Detentions at the Border

Rob Aitken, Notes on the Canadian Exception

Audrey Macklin, From Cooperation, to Complicity, to Compensation

November 5 9. Borders and Biosecurity

Alan and Josephine Smart, Biosecurity, Quarantine and Life across the Border

Renisa Mawani, Screening out Diseased Bodies

November 12 10. Northern Borders

Christopher Stevenson, Hans Off!

Michael Byers, Cold Peace

November 19 11. Borders and Pipelines

Paul Chastko, Anonymity and Ambivalence

Marc Kasoff, East Meets West in the Canadian Oil Sands

November 26 12. Conclusions and Review



September 17 2. Imposing the Border

  • Donald A Grinde (2002) “Iroquois border crossings: place, politics and the Jay Treaty” in Claudia Sadowski-Smith, ed. Globalization on the Line: Culture, Capital, and Citizenship at US Borders; New York: Palgrave: 167-182.

  • Thomas King (1993) “Borders” in One Good Story, That One; New York: Random House: 131-145.

October 1 4. Policing the Border

  • Kornel Chang (2008) “Enforcing Transnational White Solidarity: Asian Migration and the Formation of the U.S.-Canadian Boundary” American Quarterly 60(3): 671-696.

  • Thomas A Klug (2010) “The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and the Making of a Border-Crossing Culture on the US–Canada Border, 1891–1941” American Review of Canadian Studies 40(3): 395-415.

October 8 5. Securing the Border

  • Peter Andreas (2005) “The Mexicanization of the US-Canada Border: Asymmetric Interdependence in a Changing Security Context” International Journal 60(2): 449-462.

  • Daniel Schwanen (2011) Beyond the Border and Back to the Future: Seizing the Opportunity to Enhance Canadian and US Economic Growth and Security; CD Howe Institute Backgrounder, No 141, August 2011.

October 15 6. Border Mobility

  • Alexandra Mann (2009) “Refugees who Arrive by Boat and Canada’s Commitment to the Refugee Convention: A Discursive Analysis” Refuge 26(2): 191-206.

  • Audrey Macklin (2008) “From Cooperation, to Complicity, to Compensation: The War on Terror, Extraordinary Rendition, and the Cost of Torture ” European Journal of Migration and Law 10: 11-30.

October 22 7. Border Surveillance

  • David Lyon (2006) “Airport Screening, Surveillance and Social Sorting: Canadian Responses to 9/11 in Context” Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice 48(3): 397-411.

  • Brenda McPhail, Christopher Parsons, Karen Louise Smith, Joseph Ferenbok, and Andrew Clement (2012) “Identifying Canadians at the Border: ePassports and the 9/11 Legacy” Canadian Journal of Law and Society 27(3): 341-361.

October 29 8. Detentions at the Border

  • Rob Aitken (2008) “Notes on the Canadian Exception: Security Certificates in Critical Context” Citizenship Studies 12(4): 381-396.

  • Audrey Macklin (2008) “From Cooperation, to Complicity, to Compensation: the War on Terror, Extraordinary Rendition, and the Cost of Torture” European Journal of Migration and Law 10: 11-30.

November 5 9. Borders and Biosecurity

  • Alan Smart and Josephine Smart (2012) “Biosecurity, Quarantine and Life across the Border” in Thomas M Wilson and Hastings Donnan, ed. A Companion to Border Studies; Malden, MA: Blackwell: 354-370.

  • Renisa Mawani (2006) “Screening out Diseased Bodies: Immigration, Mandatory HIV Testing, and the Making of a Healthy Canada” in Alison Bashford, ed. Medicine at the Border: Disease, Globalization, and Security, 1850 to the Present; London: Macmillan: 136-158.

November 12 10. Northern Borders

  • Christopher Stevenson (2007) “Hans Off! The struggle for Hans Island and the potential ramifications for international border dispute resolution” Boston College International and Comparative Law Review 30: 263-275.

  • Michael Byers (2010) “Cold Peace: Arctic Cooperation and Canadian Foreign Policy” International Journal 65(4): 899-912.

November 19 11. Borders and Pipelines

  • Paul Chastko (2012) “Anonymity and Ambivalence: The Canadian and American Oil Industries and the Emergence of Continental Oil” The Journal of American History June : 166-176.

  • Marc Kasoff (2007) “East Meets West in the Canadian Oil Sands” American Review of Canadian Studies 37(2): 177-183.

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