Workshop Report | Aesthetics and the Canada-US Border


3rd Culture and the Canada-US Border Workshop | Calgary, 19th and 20th September 2014



loft112Loft 112 sits in a liminal space in Calgary, on the edge of downtown, in the East Village, currently in the midst of gentrification. As a space dedicated to literary and artistic practice, it provided the perfect venue for the third workshop of the Leverhulme Trust-funded Culture and the Canada-US Border research network, focusing on aesthetics and the Canada-US border. Over two days, CCUSB network members and workshop participants were treated to four presentations of aesthetic sensitivity, constructive energy, and searing intellect. Continue reading


Padraig Kirwan on Indigenous Sovereignty

This  post, from Dr Padraig Kirwan (Goldsmiths, University of London) is based on a paper delivered at the first CCUSB Workshop in London in September 2012

Sovereignty. Self-determination. Autonomy. Nation. Native American Studies is currently being shaped dramatically by this particular set of terms, and the prevailing discourse aims to interrogate not only various senses of tribal self-determination, but also to re-examine earlier formulations of cultural, spiritual, political and artistic autonomy. Indeed, the publication of myriad nuanced and substantial works of scholarship focussing on the subject of sovereignty alone is testament to the critical role that definitions of indigenous self-determination and authority play within the field today. Continue reading

Non-Indigenous scholars and Indigenous issues

At the original ‘Culture and the Canada-US Border’ conference held at the University of Kent in June 2009, Kelly Hewson (Mt. Royal University) and I had a conversation about the challenges faced by non-Indigenous scholars interested in Indigenous issues. Such conversations tend to turn on the tension between well-intentioned awareness-raising on the one hand and advocacy ‘on behalf’ of minority groups on the other, with all the attendant dangers of representation, objectification, and even commoditization that implies. How does one go about engaging such issues without speaking for others—potentially (inadvertently?) silencing them in the process? Continue reading