Surveying the humanities in Canada


1947 - The HRCC publishes The Humanities in Canada

As their first major project, the Humanities Research Council of Canada decides to do a survey of the humanities across Canada’s universities. Using a grant of $8,000 from the Rockefeller Foundation, the council mails questionnaires to university presidents, deans, department heads, librarians and individual scholars. The intention is to sketch out “the state of the humanities in Canada.” The final, 287-page report, edited by Watson Kirkconnell and A.S.P. Woodhouse is published in May 1947. The council publicizes its findings widely, sending out copies to newspapers, universities and organizations across the world. In its conclusion, the report's authors argue that “If we are to rank as a civilized nation, and not merely as an enormously wealthy and heavily industrialized Siberian hinterland to the civilized world, we shall need to come of age in our academic life as well.” To that end, they make several recommendations, including more basic humanities courses in undergraduate curricula, better funding for humanities programs from federal and provincial governments and better support of libraries and university facilities.