New Book | Discrepant Parallels: Cultural Implications of the Canada-US Border


discrepant parallelsDiscrepant Parallels: Cultural Implications of the Canada-US Border, by CCUSB co-investigator Gillian Roberts, is now available from McGill-Queen’s University Press.

From MQUP:

The 49th parallel has long held a symbolic importance to Canadian cultural nationalists as a strong, though permeable, border. But in contemporary Canadian culture, the border has multiple meanings, and imbalances of cultural power occur both across the Canada-US border as well as within Canada.

Discrepant Parallels examines divergent relationships to, and investments in, the Canada-US border in a variety of media, such as travel writing, fiction, poetry, drama, and television. Tracing cultural production in Canada since the 1980s through the periods of FTA and NAFTA negotiations, and into the current, post-9/11 context, Gillian Roberts grapples with the border’s changing relevance to Canadian nationalist, Indigenous, African Canadian, and Latin American perspectives. Drawing on Kant and Derrida, she theorizes the 49th parallel to account for the imbalance of cultural, political, and economic power between the two countries, as well as the current challenges to dominant definitions of Canadianness.

Focusing on a border that is often overshadowed by the contentious US-Mexico divide, Discrepant Parallels analyzes the desire to establish Canadian-American sameness and difference from a multitude of perspectives, as well as its implications for how Canada is represented within and outside its national borders.


Book Award

Prizing Literature Book Cover

Huge congratulations to CCUSB network Co-Investigator Gillian Roberts who has been awarded the International Council for Canadian Studies‘s Pierre Savard Award for a Canadian Studies monograph for her book Prizing Literature: the Celebration and Circulation of National Culture (U of Toronto Press, 2011). Of particular interest to network members, check out chapter 2: ‘The “American-not-American”: Carol Shields’s Border Crossings and Gendered Citizenships’.

New Book | Parallel Encounters: Culture at the Canada-US Border

Parallel Encounters

Parallel Encounters: Culture at the Canada-US Border is now available from Wilfrid Laurier University Press. This collection is edited by CCUSB network members Gillian Roberts and David Stirrup.

From WLU Press:

The essays collected in Parallel Encounters offer close analysis of an array of cultural representations of the Canada–US border, in both site-specificity and in the ways in which they reveal and conceal cultural similarities and differences. Contributors focus on a range of regional sites along the border and examine a rich variety of expressive forms, including poetry, fiction, drama, visual art, television, and cinema produced on both sides of the 49th parallel.

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Opportunity: Post-Doctoral Fellow in Border Studies

Post-Doctoral Fellow in Border Studies, Carleton University Borders in Globalization Project

Carleton University invites applications for a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Border Studies in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies. A PhD in Geography, Anthropology, Political Science or a related discipline is required at the time of the appointment. The position is effective January 1, 2014, and will be for a period of two years. Continue reading


“Culture and the Canada-US Border” (CCUSB) is an international research network dedicated to studying cultural representation, production and exchange on and around the Canada-US border. Funded by the Leverhulme Trust, CCUSB comprises core members in the UK, Canada and the USA, with a wider network of European and North American affiliates.

This blog provides a space in which network members and guest writers will explore issues of interest and raise important questions about the comparative study of North American cultures generally and border studies specifically. The latter’s emphasis, in a North American context, has traditionally been on the US-Mexico borderlands, which have generated examinations of nation-state relations, immigration, security, crime, cultural, ethnic and racial identity, gender and sexuality, and “nearly every psychic or geographic space about which one can thematize problems of boundary or limit” (Michaelson, 1-2). In broader terms, border studies brings important insights to bear on human rights issues, environmental practices, globalization, and consumption and production of everything from food to clothing, from culture to wealth. Continue reading