The William Westfall Canadian Studies Prize

The William Westfall Canadian Studies Prize was created in honour of Professor William Westfall, a long-time member of Atkinson College and York University’s Department of Humanities. For many years, Professor Westfall alternately taught in and supervised the Canadian Studies Program on York’s Keele campus, inspiring many students in their study of Canada. In recent years, he has been a passionate and outspoken promoter of Canadian Studies at York, continually articulating the importance of ongoing development and new research in this interdisciplinary field. The William Westfall Canadian Studies Prize was created to honour Professor Westfall’s commitment to the Program, and his ongoing contributions to our understanding of Canada.

Competition Description

The William Westfall Canadian Studies Prize is a University wide contest, open to all students registered in 1000, 2000 and 3000 level Canadian-themed courses on both Keele and Glendon campuses. Accordingly, the competition encourages papers written in either French and English.

Once each year, one winner is chosen at each year level. These winners receive an official transcript note and their essay published online and permanently available on York's website. A static URL of this faculty-reviewed essay will remain easily accessible to those considering applications for graduate and professional studies.

Selection Process

Course directors nominated up to two papers per course by April 30, 2011. Submitted papers were read by two juries. First, a pre-reading jury of students and Canadian Studies Faculty chose three finalists at each of the 1000, 2000 and 3000 year levels.

Second, a tenure-stream jury of professors selected a single outstanding winning essay from
these finalists at each year level. The judges considered each paper's originality, creativity,
readability, research and contribution to the study of Canada.

Because of the overall quality of submissions, honourable mentions were awarded for papers at the 1000 and 3000 year levels.


Pre-Reading Jury
  • Alina Chekh (3rd Year York Student)
  • Dr. Susana Miranda (Humanities)
  • Samantha Peterson (3rd Year York Student)
  • Dr. Peter Stevens (Humanities)
  • Dr. Jon Sufrin (Humanities, CDNS Program Coordinator)
Finalist Jury
  • Professor Jody Berland (Humanities)
  • Associate Professor Colin Coates (Glendon History)
  • Assistant Professor Patricia Keeney (English)
  • Professor Marcel Martel (History)
  • Associate Professor David McNab (Race, Ethnicity and Indigeneity)
  • Professor Don Rubin (Theatre)
  • Assistant Professor Laura Taylor (Environmental Studies)


1st Year Winner

Caitlin Battaglia - Multiculturalism (CDNS 1920)

Caitlin Battaglia's "Multiculturalism" is well written and diverse. In her essay she captures the common experience of many Canadian immigrants of living with more than one culture, shifting and adapting according to experience and place. Moreover, the paper uses examples which present an interesting study of a Canadian cultural landscape. The essay's writing was smooth and quite engaging; it captures a major debate and ongoing dialogue that Canadians, regardless of when their family immigrated, have.

2nd Year Winner

Lindsay Henselwood - Les Belles Soeurs With Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing (EN 2220)

Lindsay Henselwood's Les Belles Soeurs with Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing was interesting, analyzed its texts well, and explored some important aspects of the Reserve system The inter-cultural subject matter of Henselwood's essay is widely relevant and draws attention to core Canadian imaginative work with lively and interesting argument.

3rd Year Winner

Lisa Alleyne, Simone Chow, Natalie Famula, Joyceline Rodrigues, Karin Thiang - Perceptions of and Attitudes toward French L2 Learning Opportunities On- and Off-campus Among Students not Specializing in French at Glendon (GL/EN 3603 )

1st Juror's comments:
Ce travail est le fruit d'une recherche collective impressionnante basée sur un sondage auprès des étudiants de Glendon et des interviews avec quatre professeurs de français. Les étudiantes situent leur recherche dans le contexte des travaux appropriés et réfléchissent sur les limitations de leur sondage. Le travail est clairement présenté.

2nd Juror's comments:
Le travail, soumis par les étudiants de Glendon, est excellent. La méthodologie est solide et j'apprécie la volonté de proposer des solutions au problème de l'apprentissage du français au Collège Glendon. Il faut féliciter les auteurs pour avoir interviewé autant d'étudiants et dépouillé leurs réponses. Enfin, les auteurs ont présenté leurs données de manière stimulante. Il aurait été possible de rédiger un travail dans une langue un peu aride mais il y avait un souci de présenter les données dans une langue accessible à tous et tenant compte de la production historiographique.

3rd Year Honourable Mention

David Marincola - Domestic Service Work (HIST 3531)

David Marincola's "Domestic Service Work" provides an original, insightful analysis of Domestic Service (DS) work in Canada; this paper taught the committee something, both in its skillful analysis and the inclusion of personal interviews with DS workers. The style is lively and engaging, provides a solution and a convincing one in this context.

Recent Submissions

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