Culture at the Canada-US Border
Paper 354 pp.
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The essays collected in offer close analysis of an array of cultural representations of the Canada–US border, in both site-specificity and in the ways in which they reveal and conceal cultural similarities and differences. Contributors focus on a range of regional sites along the border and examine a rich variety of expressive forms, including poetry, fiction, drama, visual art, television, and cinema produced on both sides of the 49th parallel.
The field of border studies has hitherto neglected the Canada–US border as a site of cultural interest, tending to examine only its role in transnational policy, economic cycles, and legal and political frameworks. Border studies has long been rooted in the US–Mexico divide; shifting the locus of that discussion north to the 49th parallel, the contributors ask what added complications a site-specific analysis of culture at the Canada–US border can bring to the conversation. In so doing, this collection responds to the demands of Hemispheric American Studies to broaden considerations of the significance of American culture to the Americas as a whole—bringing Canadian Studies into dialogue with the dominantly US-centric critical theory in questions of citizenship, globalization, Indigenous mobilization, hemispheric exchange, and transnationalism.
Gillian Roberts is a lecturer in North American Cultural Studies at the University of Nottingham. She is co-investigator of the Leverhulme Trust–funded Culture and the Canada–US Border international research network. She recently completed a monograph on cultural representations of the Canada–US border.
David Stirrup is a senior lecturer in American literature at the University of Kent. He is the principal investigator of the Leverhulme Trust–funded Culture and the Canada–US Border international research network.
“Parallel Encounters is an exciting addition to recent critical work that will not stop at the border! The sustained attention to the Canada–US border in this great collection contributes to crucial disciplinary shifts that now revise national fields in North American, hemispheric, and other transnational contexts. Parallel Encounters reads fashion, television, health, and national security across the border, offers an excellent section on indigenous cultures, and gives us exceptional essays on key texts and poetics. This volume is invaluable for any reader interested in the politics and poetics of the border.”
— Winfried Siemerling, University of Waterloo, author of The New North American Studies (2005), co-editor of Canada and Its Americas (2010)
“Parallel Encounters focuses on cultural productions about Canada and its relationship to the border with the United States and thus draws much-needed attention to a geography that has remained under-examined in hemispheric American and border studies. A wake-up call to fields that have largely remained grounded in US research traditions and perspectives, the collection is the first to bring together the work of scholars working primarily in Canada and the United Kingdom on issues of indigeneity and slavery in the Canadian context, and on a variety of media forms.”
— Claudia Sadowski-Smith, Arizona State University, author of Border Fictions: Globalization, Empire, and Writing at the Boundaries of the United States (2008)