Culture and the Canada-US Border Conference
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The conference Culture and the Canada-US Border is to be held at the University of Kent, Canterbury, England, June 26-28 2009. Please browse this site for the provisional programme, and details of travel and accommodation. Registration will open via this website, within a month of the conference dates.
For further information, please contact one of the organisers:
Dr Gillian Roberts, University of Nottingham
Dr David Stirrup, University of Kent [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Border studies in North America has hitherto focused primarily on the United States’ border with Mexico, the point at which, Gloria Anzaldúa has noted, ‘the Third World grates against the first and bleeds’. This conference seeks to shift border discussions North to the 49th parallel and its representation in both Canadian and American cultural products and, in so doing, to offer an intervention into familiar border discourses. If the US-Mexico border effects a brutal juxtaposition of national economic prosperity and deprivation, operating alongside a generally perceived linguistic and ethnic divide, what functions do we attribute to the Canada-US border, traditionally celebrated as the longest undefended border in the world? How far North can we take the insights produced by US-Mexico border studies—or do we need different theories altogether for a different border? If the Canada-US border figures prominently in Canadians’ sense of their national identity, how does it figure south of the border? And to what extent do subnational groups’ relationships to this border diverge from dominant national positions?
The conference will offer a range of papers that examine issues raised by the cultural implications of Canada-US border in Canadian and/or American literature, television, cinema, visual art, music, and other cultural forms. Topics include, but are not limited to, the following issues:
- Challenges to nation-state borders and the idea of the nation posed by Québec nationalism
- Challenges to nation-state borders posed by indigenous self-determination
- Indigeneity and cross-border identifications and dislocations
- Diasporic communities across the border (e.g. relationships between African-Canadian and African-American culture; between Asian-Canadian and Asian-American culture)
- The border in dominant national(ist) fictions
- Constructions of Canada-US sameness and difference
- Comparisons of Canadian and American impressions of the Canada-US border
- Comparisons of the 49th parallel and the Alaska/Yukon border
- Comparisons of Anglo-Canada’s and Québec’s relationship to the Canada-US border
- Assessments of the usefulness of US-Mexico border studies, and border theory based on the US-Mexico border, to the Canada-US border
- Hemispheric contextualisation of the Canada-US border.