CFP: [International] Culture and the Canada-US Border (conference)

full name / name of organization: 
David Stirrup
contact email: 

Call for Papers: Culture and the Canada-US Border

University of Kent, Canterbury, UK

26-28 June, 2009

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 studiesâ€"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

We invite 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. Papers may address,
but are not limited to, the following issues:

- Indigeneity and cross-border identifications and dislocations
- Challenges to nation-state borders posed by indigenous self-
- Challenges to nation-state borders and the idea of the nation posed by
Québec nationalism
- 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.

Papers will be 20 minutes long. Please send a 300-word abstract and short
biographical note to both David Stirrup ( and
Gillian Roberts ( by 31 October 2008.

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Received on Tue Jul 29 2008 - 11:14:13 EDT