Making It Like a Man
Canadian Masculinities in Practice
Paper 372 pp.
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Making It Like a Man: Canadian Masculinities in Practice is a collection of essays on the practice of masculinities in Canadian arts and cultures, where to “make it like a man” is to participate in the cultural, sociological, and historical fluidity of ways of being a man in Canada, from the country’s origins in nineteenth-century Victorian values to its immersion in the contemporary post-modern landscape.
The book focuses on the ways Canadian masculinities have been performed and represented through five broad themes: colonialism, nationalism, and transnationalism; emotion and affect; ethnic and minority identities; capitalist and domestic politics; and the question of men’s relationships with themselves and others. Chapters include studies of well-known and more obscure figures in the Canadian arts and culture scenes, such as visual artist Attila Richard Lukacs; writers Douglas Coupland, Barbara Gowdy, Simon Chaput, Thomas King, and James De Mille; filmmakers Clement Virgo, Norma Bailey, John N. Smith, and Frank Cole; as well as familiar and not-so-familiar tokens of Canadian masculinity such as the hockey hero, the gangsta rapper, the immigrant farmer, and the drag king.
Making It Like a Man is the first book of its kind to explore and critique historical and contemporary masculinities in Canada with a special focus on artistic and cultural production and representation. It is concerned with mapping some of the uniquely Canadian places and spaces in the international field of masculinity studies, and will be of interest to academic and culturally informed audiences.
Christine Ramsay is an associate professor in media studies at the University of Regina, Saskatchewan. She is a past president of the Film Studies Association of Canada and a member of the editorial board of Topia: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies. She publishes in the areas of Canadian and Saskatchewan cinemas, masculinities in contemporary cultures, philosophies of identity, and the culture of small cities.
“Bringing together the fine arts, humanities, and social sciences in examining Canadian masculinities, Christine Ramsay’s sophisticated anthology Making It Like a Man moves well beyond the old generalizations about masculinity and the usual emphasis on masculinity as being in a constant state of crisis. The range of topics, methods, and scholars is impressive and makes a rich contribution to understanding Canadian culture. Making It Like a Man demonstrates the need to pursue more work like this with a transdisciplinary approach to the intersection of masculinity and nationhood.”
— Peter Lehman, author of Running Scared: Masculinity and the Representation of the Male Body, New Edition
“Making It Like a Man delves deftly and deeply into one of the most conspicuous voids in Canadian arts and culture, namely: where have all the heroes gone? It’s the question that fascinates Christine Ramsay as much as the quest. The fact is, masculinity has never been a simple or static state in Canadian culture, and in this lies the revelation. If men in Canadian culture weren’t in a state of perpetual representational crisis, they’d be from somewhere else.”
— Geoff Pevere, co-author Mondo Canuck: A Canadian Pop Culture Odyssey, author of Toronto on Film and Goin’ Down the Road
“Christine Ramsay’s edited collection Making It Like a Man, offers a significant and welcome contribution to the growing body of work on masculinity. Considered as a whole, Making It Like a Man is a ground-breaking study of Canadian masculinity in art, culture, and film. The text is one of the first to interrogate Canadian masculinity from a cultural perspective and joins with other similar work in offering a corrective to mainstream visions of manhood.... In interrogating and challenging the traditional—white, heterosexual, and able-bodied—perception of Canadian masculinity in art and culture, the text succeeds magnificently.... Ramsay’s work will no doubt become a standard textbook for courses in gender and sexuality studies, media studies, and Canadian studies. No matter where future research and writing goes in terms of the study of Canadian masculinities, future scholars and activists will have to read Making It Like a Man.”
— Brian Thorn, Nipissing University, Labour/Le Travail
“The collection...investigates Canadian masculinities across disciplines, spaces, and time periods. Essays explore everything from national settlement propaganda in the late 1800s to Indigenous rap in contemporary Regina, and the authors make use of a wide array of analytical and theoretical approaches.... Making It Like a Man suggests that we need to move past the binaries (urban/rural, white collar/blue collar, bachelor/family) that govern them in order to engage more fully with the complexity of male identity in Canada.”
— Jennifer Hardwick, Canadian Literature