H. Vivian Nelles, a professor of Canadian history at Toronto's York University, will come to Harvard this fall as visiting King Professor of Canadian Studies, and will teach the first Canadian history course offered at Harvard in ten years.
"We are really lucky to get him," Eliot J. Feldman, professor at the Center for International Affairs and director of the University Consortium for Research on North America, which made the selection, said yesterday, adding, "A number of old historians in Canada say he's the best young historian in the country."
Nelles will teach "Introduction to Canadian History" and "Canadian Social History" next year, and will also serve as co-chairman of a University Consortium seminar on Canadian-U.S. relations.
Nelles is a widely published author in Canadian history, and serves as editor of the Social History of Canada Series for the University of Toronto Press. Feldman said, adding that in 1976-77 Nelles was visiting professor of Canadian studies at three Japanese universities.
Nelles will be "a great bonus" to the History Department, Wallace T. MacCaffrey, the department chairman, said yesterday. But he added that there has been little student demand for Canadian history courses.
"I know that Canadian history isn't exactly exciting, there aren't a lot of major events," Peter J. Evans '83, a member of the Harvard Canadian Club said yesterday, adding, "but I do think it's good for American students to learn something about it."
The University Consortium, which appointed Nelles, is a joint research group of Harvard, Brandeis, and Tufts Universities, and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. The King Professorship, endorsed by private companies in the United States and Canada, will bring a different Canadian professor to the School of Arts and Sciences for each of the next three years. Feldman said.