Raymond Blake

Ph.D (York University; MA (York University); BA Honours (Memorial University)

Office: AH 445
E-mail: raymond.blake@uregina.ca
Phone: 306-585-5431
Website: http://www.raymondblake.ca/

Research interests

  • Canadian Politics
  • Nationalism and Identity
  • Social Welfare
  • Resource Policy
  • Federal-Provincial Relations


Short Bio

Raymond B. Blake is Professor of History at the University of Regina. He was formerly Director of the Saskatchewan Institute of Public Policy and Director of the Centre for Canadian Studies at Mount Allison University. He is a specialist in the history of the Canada, focussing primarily on 20th century politics, nationalism and national identity, citizenship, and federalism. He has taught a wide variety courses in Canadian history and has taught Canadian Studies at Philipps-Universität Marburg in Germany and at University College Dublin in Ireland where he has twice held the Craig Dobbin Chair of Canadian Studies. His research has been supported by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada and he has written and edited twenty books and a large number of scholarly articles. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.


Professor Blake’s innovative historical research has contributed to new ways of thinking about Canada. The animating intellectual themes of his research explore through various methodologies and theoretical frameworks how the Canadian state strives – but oftentimes fails – to find within itself the capacity to accommodate its constituent parts in the search for political stability and social and economic justice in Canada. From his early work on federalism and state-craft, he has been preoccupied with the fundamental question of how the Canadian state has attempt to accommodate its constituent parts while managing successfully competing national interest. Theories of citizenship, especially notions of social citizenship, influenced his important work on social policy throughout the 20th century where he challenged the orthodoxy surrounding the emergence of social policy to show that Canada’s welfare state emerged as part of a re-conception of notions of citizenship and social entitlements and a general demand from citizens that the state provide better for their basic needs. His work also demonstrates the interplay of statecraft, social policy, and citizenship and identity to show the complexity of approaches that are necessary to understand modern Canada. His most recent research and publications have provided a new interpretation of the 1949 Confederation by turning to voters and exploring the shift in the notion of citizenship from political and constitutional imperatives to social and economic ones. His current book project examines the role that prime ministers play in constructing national identity. It asserts that prime ministers, while possessing a degree of autonomy, reflect and are shaped by the social, cultural and political milieu in which they govern. It argues, moreover, that culture and identity are reconstituted through language and speech. It contends, too, that rhetoric and public discourse are transformative by identifying for citizens shared characteristics, ideas, principles, and interests. His next book project proposes a reconceptualization of Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s valedictory Peace Initiative of 1983-84 for which he received a 3-year SSHRC Insight Grant in 2020.

Courses Taught

HIST 113: Issues in Canadian History
HIST 201: Canada From Confederation to World War II
HIST 202: Canada From World War II to the Present
HIST 301: Federalism and the Canadian Experience
HIST 303: Canada in the World
HIST 403/803: Studies in Canadian Political History
HIST 409/809: Canadian Nationalism in Comparative Perspective
HIST 415/815: The Writing of History

Recent Publications

Recent Books

Where Once They Stood: Newfoundland’s Rocky Road to Canada. Co-authored with Melvin Baker. Regina: University of Regina Press, 2019. Named The Hill Times’ List of 100 Best Non-Fiction Canadian Books in 2019.

Celebrating Canada: Commemorations, Anniversaries and National Symbols. Volume 2. Edited by Raymond B. Blake and Matthew Hayday. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2018. The Hill Times’ 100 Best Political, History, Public Policy Books in 2018.

Conflict and Compromise. Post-Confederation Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2017. Co-authored with Jeff Keshen, Norman Knowles, and Barbara Messamore;

Conflict and Compromise. Pre-Confederation Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2017. Co-authored with Jeff Keshen, Norman Knowles and Barbara Messamore.

Celebrating Canada: Holidays, National Days, and the Crafting of Identities. Volume 1. Edited by Matthew Hayday and Raymond Blake. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2016.

Lions or Jellyfish: A History of Newfoundland-Ottawa Relations. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015. Awarded Canadian Historical Association-Canadian Historical Association-Société historique du Canada the Clio Prize for Best Book in Atlantic Canada History; Canadian Studies Network-Réseau d'études canadiennes Prize for the Best Book in Canadian Studies; and nominated for two Saskatchewan Book Awards.

Articles and Book Chapters

“William Lyon Mackenzie King's Role in the Reconstruction of National Identity,” Canadian Historical Review 101 no. 3 (2020): pp. 370-396. https://www.utpjournals.press/doi/full/10.3138/chr-2019-0026  

“Canada and the Dreams of Citizenship, 1867: A New Way of Constituting Canada.” Forthcoming Australasian Canadian Studies. Expected 2020.

“Citizenship, National Identity, and the Search for Stability in Canada,” AUC Studia Territorialia, 19, no. 2, (2019): 11-38. https://stuter.fsv.cuni.cz/index.php/stuter/issue/view/54/showToc.

« La diversité et le sentiment d’appartenance au Canada » in Le sentiment d'appartenance aux Amériques. Marie Michaud & Mariannick Guennec (coord.). Éditions du Cygne, Paris, 2019.

« Terre-Neuve et le Canada : la quête de stabilité » in La Confédération, 1864-1999: nouvelles perspectives. D. Heidt, ed., avec C. M. Coates. Calgary: U of Calgary Press, 2019: 253-80.

“Newfoundland’s 1948 Referendum: A People’s Victory? Active History, 23 July 2018. http://activehistory.ca/2018/07/newfoundlands-1948/#more-24075.

Awards and Distinctions

Craig Dobbin Chair of Canadian Studies, University College Dublin, Dublin, Republic of Ireland, 2019-20.
Fellow, Royal Society of Canada.
Recipient of the University of Regina Excellence Award for Research, University of Regina, 2016.
Listed in Canadian Who’s Who. University of Toronto Press.