The 49th parallel has long held a symbolic importance to Canadian cultural nationalists as a strong, though permeable, border. But in contemporary Canadian culture, the border has multiple meanings, and imbalances of cultural power occur both across the Canada-US border as well as within Canada.Discrepant Parallels
examines divergent relationships to, and investments in, the Canada-US border in a variety of media, such as travel writing, fiction, poetry, drama, and television. Tracing cultural production in Canada since the 1980s through the periods of FTA and NAFTA negotiations, and into the current, post-9/11 context, Gillian Roberts grapples with the border's changing relevance to Canadian nationalist, Indigenous, African Canadian, and Latin American perspectives. Drawing on Kant and Derrida, she theorizes the 49th parallel to account for the imbalance of cultural, political, and economic power between the two countries, as well as the current challenges to dominant definitions of Canadianness.
Focusing on a border that is often overshadowed by the contentious US-Mexico divide, Discrepant Parallels analyzes the desire to establish Canadian-American sameness and difference from a multitude of perspectives, as well as its implications for how Canada is represented within and outside its national borders.