Canadian Cultural Studies

A Reader

Canadian Cultural Studies

Book Pages: 608 Illustrations: Published: June 2009

American Studies, Cultural Studies, Postcolonial and Colonial Studies

Canada is situated geographically, historically, and culturally between old empires (Great Britain and France) and a more recent one (the United States), as well as on the terrain of First Nations communities. Poised between historical and metaphorical empires and operating within the conditions of incomplete modernity and economic and cultural dependency, Canada has generated a body of cultural criticism and theory, which offers unique insights into the dynamics of both center and periphery. The reader brings together for the first time in one volume recent writing in Canadian cultural studies and work by significant Canadian cultural analysts of the postwar era.

Including essays by anglophone, francophone, and First Nations writers, the reader is divided into three parts, the first of which features essays by scholars who helped set the agenda for cultural and social analysis in Canada and remain important to contemporary intellectual formations: Harold Innis, Marshall McLuhan, and Anthony Wilden in communications theory; Northrop Frye in literary studies; George Grant and Harold Innis in a left-nationalist tradition of critical political economy; Fernand Dumont and Paul-Émile Borduas in Quebecois national and political culture; and Harold Cardinal in native studies.

The volume’s second section showcases work in which contemporary authors address Canada’s problematic and incomplete nationalism; race, difference, and multiculturalism; and modernity and contemporary culture. The final section includes excerpts from federal policy documents that are especially important to Canadians’ conceptions of their social, political, and cultural circumstances. The reader opens with a foreword by Fredric Jameson and concludes with an afterword in which the Quebecois scholar Yves Laberge explores the differences between English-Canadian cultural studies and the prevailing forms of cultural analysis in francophone Canada.

Contributors. Ian Angus, Himani Bannerji, Jody Berland, Paul-Émile Borduas, Harold Cardinal, Maurice Charland, Stephen Crocker, Ioan Davies, Fernand Dumont, Kristina Fagan, Gail Faurschou, Len Findlay, Northrop Frye, George Grant, Rick Gruneau, Harold Innis, Fredric Jameson, Yves Laberge, Jocelyn Létourneau, Eva Mackey, Lee Maracle, Marshall McLuhan, Katharyne Mitchell, Sourayan Mookerjea, Kevin Pask, Rob Shields, Will Straw, Imre Szeman, Serra Tinic, David Whitson, Tony Wilden


Canadian Cultural Studies marks an important publication. . . . With contributions from media studies, literary studies, cultural studies, Aboriginal studies, and studies of multiculturalism, as well as government policy documents and a concerted effort to bridge the divide between Quebec and the rest of Canada, this reader does a great job of covering its ground. . . . [T]hese are essential essays and documents. It is, moreover, an accessible and useful text that I heartily recommend to instructors of Canadian studies looking to foster a sense of academic rigour in their courses.” — Kit Dobson, Canadian Literature

“The editors deserve credit for bringing together scattered and not easily accessible seminal articles focusing on Canadian economy and polity. This anthology, comprising historical, contemporary, multidisciplinary, theoretical, and critical essays, will remain an essential sourcebook on Canadian cultural studies. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.” — D. A. Chekki, Choice

“This reader is a timely and provocative reflection on Canadian cultural studies. While some readers may be familiar with many of the essays, encountering them again will prove to be rewarding for the new insights that their juxtapositions in this volume offer. This volume attests to not only to the substantial history of cultural theory in Canada, but also to its vibrancy.”
— Lily Cho, ariel

Canadian Cultural Studies is a brilliant study and appropriation of some of the most important issues that have been central to the history of cultural studies. But there is more at work in this book than appropriation; Canadian Cultural Studies rewrites that legacy and establishes Canada as a society in which cultural studies as a theoretical discourse and practice is being played out in ways that make this book indispensable to understanding what cultural studies has become and where it might be going in the future. This is an extraordinary book for anyone interested in cultural studies and the importance of Canada in rewriting and applying some of its most fundamental assumptions.” — Henry A. Giroux, author of Youth in a Suspect Society: Democracy or Disposability?

“For those familiar with cultural studies in Canada, this reader offers a necessary and illuminating consolidation of key texts. For newer eyes, there is fresh inspiration. Expertly selected and organized, the material assembled here is a gilded invitation to explore this rich field of interdisciplinary and politically engaged cultural analysis. Canadian Cultural Studies: A Reader is a vital contribution to contemporary currents in the study of globalization, nationhood, and identity.” — Charles R. Acland, author of Screen Traffic: Movies, Multiplexes, and Global Culture


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Sourayan Mookerjea is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Alberta and the author of Crisis and Catachresis: Pedagogy at the Limits of Identity Politics.

Imre Szeman is Senator McMaster Chair of Globalization and Cultural Studies at McMaster University, and the author of Zones of Instability: Literature, Postcolonialism and the Nation.

Gail Faurschou is a Research Associate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Alberta.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Foreword / Fredric Jameson xi

Editors' Note xv

Acknowledgments xvii

Introduction. Between Empires: On Cultural Studies in Canada / Sourayan Mookerjea, Imre Szeman, and Gail Faurschou 1

1. Canadian Cultural Theory: Origins

A Plea for Time / Harold Innis 37

The Military Implications of the American Constitution / Harold Innis 54

Canada as Counter Environment / Marshall McLuhan 71

The Medium Is the Message / Marshall McLuhan 87

Refus Global / Paul-Émile Borduas 100

Conclusion to the Literary History of Canada / Northrop Frye 111

City of the End of Things / Northrop Frye 129

Canadian Fate and Imperialism / George Grant 145

In Defence of North America / George Grant 160

Of a Hesitant Quebec / Fernand Dumont 173

The Buckskin Curtain: The Indian-Problem Problem / Harold Cardinal 200

The Old Question, but Not the Old Answers / Anthony Wilden 210

2. Contemporary Canadian Cultural Studies

A. Nationalism and Canada 229

The Social Identity of English Canada / Ian Angus 231

"Remembering (from) Where You're Going": Memory as Legacy and Inheritance / Jocelyn Létourneau 248

The True North Song Free / Rob Shields 276

Late Nationalism: The Case of Quebec / Kevin Pask 289

Technological Nationalism / Maurice Charland 308

B. Race, Difference, and Multiculturalism 325

On the Dark Side of the Nation: Politics of Multiculturalism and the State of "Canada" / Himani Bannerji 327

In Whose Interest? Transnational Capital and the Production of Multiculturalism in Canada / Katharyne Mitchell 344

Postmodernism and Cultural Politics in a Multicultural Nation: Contests over Truth in the Into the Heart of Africa Controversy / Eva Mackey 366

Another Side of Me / Lee Maracle 383

Tewatatha'wi: Aboriginal Nationalism in Taiaiake Alfred's Peace, Power, Righteousness: An Indigenous Manifest / Kristina Fagan 390

Always Indigenize! The Radical Humanities in the Postcolonial Canadian University / Len Findlay 405

C. Modernity and Contemporary Culture 423

Hauled Kicking and Screaming into Modernity: Non-Synchronicity and Globalization in Post-War Newfoundland / Stephen Crocker 425

Theorizing Toronto / Ioan Davies 441

Shifting Boundaries, Lines of Descent: Cultural Studies and Institutional Realignments / Will Straw 457

Writing on the Border / Jody Berland 472

Communities, Civic Boosterism, and Fans / Rick Gruneau and David Whitson 488

Global Vistas and Local Reflection: Negotiating Place and Identity in Vancouver Television / Serra Tinic 501

3. Government Documents

Preface to Government Documents 515

From the Report of the Royal Commission on National Development in Arts, Letters and Sciences (Massey Commission) / Government of Canada 518

From the Report of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism (Bi and Bi Commission) / Government of Canada 533

From Multiculturalism and the Government of Canada (Canadian Government Pamphlet) / Government of Canada 548

Afterword. Are Cultural Studies an Anglo-Saxon Paradigm? Reflections on Cultural Studies in Francophone Networks / Yves Laberge 561

Contributors 581

Index 585
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-4416-2 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-4398-1
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