Borderlands: How We Talk about Canada
Border lines have long affected how Canadians look at themselves and talk about their society. One commentator has even said that Canada is ‘unthinkable’ without a sense of its northern limits, its oceanic rims, and the symbolic geography of the 49th parallel. Yet borders--and the border lands they evoke--are fragile, permeable structures, not so much fixed edges as claims upon difference and metaphors of confrontation and exchange.
Borderlands traces some of the ways in which these border metaphors pervade Canadian consciousness. Addressing a variety of social issues--among them, separatism, marginalization, multiculturalism, colonial attitudes, national policies, language, and the influence of the United States--W.H. New shows how the border, though spatial in characer, is political in intent and effect. Comprising three essays, Borderlands moves from a general survey of the metaphor of the border, to a close examination of the significance of the US border in Canadian cultural history, finishing with a detailed comparison of two literary texts from the Pacific Northwest, each of which is shaped by the border concerns of the culture it represents.
This crisp, provocative, always serious, and often very funny book is a timely study of the Canadian nationa, a fresh examination of the values that underlie Canadian social attitudes and cultural expression. Essential reading for those interested in current debates in Canadian Studies, the book will also appeal to all who are fascinated by what it means to be Canadian.
What people are saying - Write a review