Please use this Web page to access plling and print components of American Myths and learn more about the American Myths television series on Canadian Learning Television (10:30 PM EST) Saturday, November 12 to November 17th.
Canadians share their continent with the global superpower; naturally, they are wary. Yet, centuries of interaction have brought Canadians and Americans to talk, trade, fight as allies, intermarry and immigrate to each other's territory. As a result, Canadians believe they intuitively understand their neighbours and proclaim that we "get" the US better than anyone else.
But Canadians nonetheless cherish ideas - even myths - about Americans that may not be true. Many would agree that Americans are warlike, while Canadians are the world's peacekeepers; that Canada is a beacon of social welfare innovation, while America is a regressive and uncaring state; that America's ethnic melting pot is hidebound and discriminatory, while Canada's is the enlightened and tolerant nation in North America.
But how appropriate is this conventional wisdom? Do we truly understand Americans, or have our internal political battles and insecurities led to a distorted perception of America? How do our myths about the US impact the relationship between the two nations? Most important of all, how do they affect our sense of ourselves and our ability to grapple with the challenges and opportunities Canada faces?
"American Myths" aims to challenge Canadians by provoking a critical study of their perceptions and preconceptions about their superpower neighbour. "American Myths" also endeavourers to bring forward a range of ideas and perspectives about what constitutes Canadian identity and how we can confront the challenges we face, as opposed to defining Canadian interests and identity simply in opposition to the US.
The Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute (www.cdfai.org) is a charitable, independent, non-partisan, research institute with an emphasis on Canadian Foreign Policy; Defence Policy; and National Security. We provide Canadians with factual and comprehensive policy analysis to promote their understanding of Canada's foreign policy and the state of our military preparedness and national security by developing and sponsoring authoritative research and education programs.
The Dominion Institute (www.dominion.ca) was established in 1997 by a group of young professionals concerned about the erosion of a common memory in Canada. In the space of eight short years, the Institute has had a far-reaching impact on Canadians' knowledge and perceptions of their history and shared citizenship, through groundbreaking public opinion research, high-profile Internet, education and television programming, book publications, and meaningful curriculum reform.
"American Myths" was made possible in part by a generous grant from the Donner Canadian Foundation and the involvement of our media partners.