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Canadian Cultural Poesis

Essays on Canadian Culture

Edited by Annie Gérin, Garry Sherbert, and Sheila Petty
Subjects Cultural Studies
Series Cultural Studies Hide Details
Paperback : 9780889204867, 540 pages, February 2006

Table of contents

Table of Contents for Canadian Cultural Poesis: Essays on Canadian Culture, edited by Garry Sherbert, Annie Gérin, and Sheila Petty
List of Illustrations
Preface | Garry Sherbert
Introduction: A Poetics of Canadian Culture | Garry Sherbert
I: Media and Its (Dis)Contents
My Grandmother’s Violin | Frances Dorsey
1. (Im)Possible Exchanges: The Arts of Counter-Surveillance | Gary Genosko
2. Canadian Humour and National Culture: Move Over, Mr. Leacock | Beverly Rasporich
3. Collective Memory on the Airwaves: The Negotiation of Unity and Diversity in a Troubled Canadian Nationalism | Emily West
4. Framing the Local: Canadian Film Policy and the Problem of Place | Zo Druick
5. Framing Culture, Talking Race: Race, Gender, and Violence in the News Media | Yasmin Jiwani
II: Performing and Disrupting Identities
20 minute visualization: Sandee, Lee, Sandra, Seema | Joanne Bristol
6. Marketing Ambivalence: Molson Breweries Go Postcolonial | Cynthia Sugars
7. “The North” Intersecting Worlds and World Views | Alastair Campbell and Kirk Cameron
8. Dressed to Thrill: Costume, Body, and Dress in Canadian Performative Art | Jayne Wark
9. Figures of Otherness in Canadian Video | Joanne Lalonde
10. Queerly Canadian: “Perversion Chic’’ Cinema and (Queer) Nationalism in English Canada | Jason Morgan
III: (Dis)Locating Language
Pull/Apart | Rachelle Viader Knowles
11. Out of Psychoanalysis: A Ficto-Criticism Monologue | Jeanne Randolph
12. Some Imaginary Geographies in Quebec Fiction | Ceri Morgan
13. L.M. Montgomery on Television: The Romance and Industry of Adaptation Process | Patsy Aspasia Kotsopoulos
14. The Use of “Fisher” in a Nova Scotian Fishing Community: A Theory of Hegemony for a Complex Canadian Culture | Carol Corbin
15. Thinking the Wonderful: After Rudolf Komorous, beside the Reveries | Martin Arnold
16. Maîtres Chez Nous: Public Art and Linguistic Identity in Quebec | Annie Gérin
IV: Cultural Dissidence
Belle Sauvage | Lori Blondeau
17. Black History and Culture in Canada: A Celebration of Essence or Presence | Cecil Foster
18. Decolonizing Interpretation at the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site | Erna L. Macleod
19. Culture and an Aboriginal Charter of Rights | Eric Sherbert
20. Canadian Gothic: Multiculturalism, Indigeneity, and Gender in Prairie Cinema | Susan Lord
21. Through a Canadian Lens: Discourses of Nationalism and Aboriginal Representation in Governmental Photographs | Carol Payne
Biographical Notes
Biographical Notes
Martin Arnold is a composer and writer based in Toronto. He has studied in Canada and the Netherlands, where his teachers were Alfred Fisher, Frederic Rzewski, John Cage, Louis Andriessen, Gilius van Bergeijk, Rudolf Komorous, Douglas Collinge, and Michael Longton. He holds a doctorate from the University of Victoria. His compositions have been performed in Canada, the United States, the Netherlands, France, Germany, and Slovakia. He publishes in the areas of music and art criticism.
Lori Blondeau is a performance artist based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She is a PhD candidate at the University of Saskatchewan, where she also teaches. In 1994 Blondeau co-founded, with Bradlee LaRocque, Tribe A Centre for Evolving Aboriginal Media, Visual and Performing Arts. Lori’s performance and visual work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Her current work consists of a series of performances based on memory, home, displacement, and decolonization.
Joanne Bristol’s work investigates the interplay between art, science, and history. The work in this book is part of her project, JoJo’s School of Aesthetics: Services in the Arts of Projection, Attention and Photography, a series of performances involving shared activities and conversation with audiences (see She also teaches at the Alberta College of Art and Design.
Kirk Cameron was born in Whitehorse, Yukon, and has studied English and history at Victoria University and Queens. He has published two books and a number of articles on northern political development, the most recent book (co-authored) being Northern Governments in Transition. He has worked for the governments of Yukon, British Columbia, and Canada, and is currently secretary to the Yukon Cabinet.
Alastair Campbell has studied history, anthropology, and semiotics in New Zealand, Canada, and Italy and has taught anthropology and sociology courses at the University of Ottawa. He has worked for the Assembly of First Nations and the governments of Canada, Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. His work has entailed extensive analysis of Aboriginal and northern issues, and the writing of policy and informational booklets.
Carol Corbin is an associate professor of communication at the University College of Cape Breton, Sydney, Nova Scotia. She publishes in the areas of community, ecology, and culture, and has edited three books related to the island of Cape Breton, and a fourth on rhetoric and postmodernism with Michael Calvin McGee. She is currently working on the modernist enterprise in China from 1900 to 1949 and spent the fall of 2000 studying and teaching in Beijing.
Frances Dorsey is an associate professor of art at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax. Educated in Canada and the United States, her studio practice is based primarily in textiles and printmaking. She exhibits both nationally and internationally.
Zoe Druick is an assistant professor in the School of Communication, Simon Fraser University, where she teaches film and media studies. She has published in the area of Canadian film policy, with an emphasis on the history of the National Film Board of Canada. She is currently completing a book on the subject, The Surface of Society.
Cecil Foster is an author and scholar. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Guelph. His publications include A Place Called Heaven, The Meaning of Being Black in Canada, and the forthcoming books, Where Race Does Not Matter: The New Spirit of Modernity and Multiculturalism: Issues of Citizenship, Culture, and Identity.
Gary Genosko teaches cultural sociology at Lakehead University. His books include Baudrillard and Signs (1994), McLuhan and Baudrillard (1999), Undisciplined Theory (1998), and Contest: Essays on Sports, Culture and Politics (1999). He is editor of The Uncollected Baudrillard (2001), Deleuze and Guattari: Critical Assessments, 3 vols. (2001), and The Guattari Reader (1996). He is general editor of The Semiotic Review of Books.
Annie Gérin is a curator and assistant professor of art history and art theory at the Department of Visual Arts, the University of Ottawa. Educated in Canada, Russia, and the UK, her research interests encompass the areas of Soviet art and propaganda, Canadian public art, and art on the World Wide Web. She is especially concerned with art encountered by non-specialized publics, outside the gallery space.
Yasmin Jiwani is a faculty member in the Department of Communications at Concordia University. Prior to her move to Concordia, she was the executive coordinator of the BC/Yukon Feminist Research, Education, Development and Action (freda) Centre at Simon Fraser University.
Rachelle Viader Knowles is a visual artist working in a broad range of contemporary media, including lens, time, and text-based installation. Originally from the UK, Rachelle studied at Cardiff College of Art and the University of Wales before moving to Canada in 1994 to study at the University of Windsor. Recent solo exhibitions include: the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina, Chapter Gallery in Wales, Peak Gallery in Toronto, and the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba. Rachelle Viader Knowles heads the intermedia area in the Visual Arts Department at the University of Regina.
Patsy Aspasia Kotsopoulos is a doctoral candidate in communications at Simon Fraser University. She is researching and writing her dissertation, “Romance and Industry on the Road to Avonlea,” for which she received a SSHRC doctoral fellowship. She teaches film and interdisciplinary studies at the University of Victoria.
Joanne Lalonde is a professor of art history at uqam and the director of the undergraduate program. She received her doctorate in semiotics from UQAM in 1999. Her research deals principally with the relationships between art and technology, media art (Canadian video), and representations of sexual and identitarian hybridization in contemporary art.
Susan Lord is an associate professor of film studies at Queen’s University, where she is also cross-appointed with the Institute of Women’s Studies. Her main teaching and research areas are feminist theory and film culture, and cultural studies of media and technology. She has published on gender and technology in Public and CineAction, as well as on feminist film culture in several recent anthologies, and is writing a book on multiculturalism, feminism, and the films of Anne Wheeler. She is currently co-editing a collection of essays entitled Digital Aesthetics: Time, Technology and the Cultures of Everyday Life, and another entitled Killing Women: Gender, Representation, and Violence.
Erna Macleod is a PhD student in the Department of Communication at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her research interests include media criticism and identity issues, particularly those related to Canadian national identity. She is a lifelong resident of Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, and has been employed as a tour guide at the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site for the past fifteen years.
Ceri Morgan received her doctorate from Southampton University in 2000. Her thesis considers representations of space, place, and identity in the contemporary francophone novel in Quebec. She is currently teaching at Keele University in the United Kingdom.
Jason Morgan is a doctoral candidate in the Joint PhD Program in Communication at Concordia University (in conjunction with the Université de Montreal and the Université de Québec à Montréal). He has previously received a master of arts in communication studies from the University of Calgary. His current research focuses on the intersection of representations of death with the body in contemporary culture.
Carol Payne is an assistant professor of art history at Carleton University’s School for Studies in Art and Culture. She writes and curates exhibitions on a wide range of issues involving photographic practice and reception, including commercial images of the 1920s, Canadian governmental uses of photography, and contemporary photo-based art practice. She is currently working on a major study of the National Film Board of Canada’s Still Photography Division, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
Sheila Petty is dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts and professor of media studies at the University of Regina (Canada). She is also an adjunct scientist (New Media) at TRLabs, Regina. She has written extensively on issues of cultural representation, identity, and nation in African and African diasporic cinema, television, and new technologies. She has curated film and television series and exhibitions for galleries across Canada.
Jeanne Randolph is a cultural theorist whose lectures, performances, and writings put a psychoanalytic torque on hi tech, advertising, mass media, and popculture phenomena. In Psychoanalysis & Synchronized Swimming, Symbolization and Its Discontents, and her forthcoming Why Stoics Box, Jeanne’s collected writings embellish the value that contemporary visual arts contribute to contemporary society.
Beverly Rasporich is a professor in the interdisciplinary Faculty of Communication and Culture at the University of Calgary. She teaches in the Canadian Studies program and is the author of Dance of the Sexes: Art and Gender in the Fiction of Alice Munro, and co-editor of A Passion For Identity: An Introduction to Canadian Studies and Woman as Artist. She has written numerous articles on Canadian culture on such topics as Canadian humour, Native literature, multiculturalism, and folk art. She is co-author of the thematic entry “Canadian Culture and Ethnic Diversity” in the Encyclopedia of Canada’s Peoples. She has recently completed a compact disc on the visual arts, Western Place/Women’s Space.
Eric Sherbert holds a ba and llb from Queen’s University and is currently working as legal counsel at the Department of Justice, Canada, in Toronto. He is currently completing his LLM at Queen’s University with a thesis entitled “Towards an Aboriginal Charter of Rights.”
Garry Sherbert is an associate professor in the Department of English at the University of Regina in Regina, Canada. He is the author of Menippean Satire and the Poetics of Wit. He is currently co-editing two volumes of The Collected Works of Northrop Frye: Shakespeare and the Renaissance, as well as coauthoring a book entitled In the Name of Friendship, on Jacques Derrida and poet-philosopher Michel Deguy.
Cynthia Sugars is an assistant professor in the Department of English at the University of Ottawa. She is the author of numerous articles and reviews on Canadian literature and postcolonial theory, including a forthcoming contribution to ARIEL entitled “Can the Canadian Speak? Lost in Postcolonial Space.” She is currently editing a collection of essays entitled Unhomely States: Theorizing English-Canadian Postcolonialism.
Jayne Wark is an associate professor of art history at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax. Her publications on contemporary visual art focus on conceptual art, video, and performance art. She is currently working on a book on feminist performance in North America.
Emily West received her PhD from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, and is currently an assistant professor in the Communication Department at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Her co-authored article on British nationalism as mediated by newspapers appeared in a 2004 issue of European Journal of Communication. In addition to her ongoing research interest in media and nationalism, she is working on major projects about two feminized and commonly denigrated forms of popular culture: greeting cards and cheerleading. Her dissertation project on expressing the self through greeting card communication was awarded a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship. She teaches and writes in the areas of consumer culture, media audiences, infotainment, and freedom of expression.


How do we make culture and how does culture make us? Canadian Cultural Poesis takes a comprehensive approach toward Canadian culture from a variety of provocative perspectives. Centred on the notion of culture as social identity, it offers original essays on cultural issues of urgent concern to Canadians: gender, technology, cultural ethnicity, and regionalism. From a broad range of disciplines, contributors consider these issues in the contexts of media, individual and national identity, language, and cultural dissent.
Providing an excellent introduction to current debates in Canadian culture, Canadian Cultural Poesis will appeal not only to readers looking for an overview of Canadian culture but also to those interested in cultural studies and interdisciplinarity, as well as scholars in film, art, literature, sociology, communication, and womens studies. This book offers new insights into how we make and are made by Canadian culture, each essay contributing to this poetics, inventing new ways to welcome cultural differences of all kinds fo the Canadian cultural community.


The introduction, `A Poetics of Canadian Culture,' by co-editor Garry Sherbert, is an excellent and trenchant discussion of `culture' and as such it tackles the vexed issue of its definition and the tricky question of both its specificity and its uncertainty.

- Berkeley Kaite, Canadian Literature, Number 195, Winter 2007, 2008 May

Expertly edited...Canadian Cultural Poesis is an outstanding...compendium offering in-depth and subject-specific analysis of Canadian art, film, literature, sociology, technology, regionalism, communication, women's studies, and more...A welcome addition to academic library reference collections, Canadian Cultural Poesis is very highly recommended.

- James A. Cox, Wisconsin Bookwatch, 2006 June