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

Discrepant 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.

Registration open for ‘Theorising the Canada-US Border’

Registration is now open for Theorising the Canada-US Border, a two day CCUSB symposium taking place 15-16 May, 2015, in Paris, France.

The symposium is the last of a three-year series of CCUSB events, which have taken place in London, Algoma, Niagara Falls, Nottingham and Calgary.

To find out more information and to register for the symposium, please visit the website, here:

The event is free to attend and refreshments will be provided. The deadline for registration is Friday April 17th.

CfP | Canada in the Americas

Proposals are invited for a interdisciplinary conference, Canada in the Americas, to be held October 2 and 3 at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. 
Papers should address the relationships of Canada to those spaces and territories normally considered as belonging to Latin or South America and the Caribbean.  Possible topics include the flow of cultural influences and artefacts between Canada and other regions in the Americas,  patterns of North-South migration, Indigenous struggles at the international level, the status of diasporic populations within Canada, the emergence of regional or subnational identities, the effects of hemispheric economic arrangements, and other topics related to the conference theme.  This is a suggested and not exclusive list of topics for which proposals will be welcome.  Papers are invited from a variety of perspectives within the social sciences and humanities. 
Interested participants are welcome, as well, to submit proposals for fully-formed panels of no more than three speakers (with a Chair and, if desired, a respondent).
Proposals should be submitted  (and papers may be presented) in either English or French.  Please send all proposals (200 words) by April 30, 2015 to
This conference will include the annual meeting of the Canadian Studies Network/Reseau d’études canadiennes and is organized and hosted by the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada under its Canada in the Americas Initiative in partnership with the Département d’études anglaises, Université de Montréal.  Normally, participants will be expected to cover their own costs of participation.
Appel à contributions pour le colloque interdisciplinaire “Le Canada dans les Amériques”, qui se tiendra les 2 et 3 octobre 2015, à l’Université McGill, Montréal (Québec).
Les interventions devront porter sur les relations qu’entretient le Canada avec les territoires communément considérés comme appartenant  à l’Amérique latine et aux Caraïbes, et devront aborder les questions suivantes : les courants d’influence culturelle et les flux de marchandises entre le Canada et les autres régions des Amériques, les circuits de migration Nord-Sud, l’émergence d’identités régionales ou infranationales, les conséquences des accords économiques entre les deux continents, ou tout autre question pertinente au regard du thème du colloque. La liste n’est pas exhaustive et toutes les propositions en vue de la compléter sont les bienvenues. Les propositions attendues peuvent provenir d’une grande variété de perspectives en sciences humaines et sociales.
Les personnes intéressées peuvent aussi soumettre des propositions complètes de panel d’au plus 3 participants, un président de séance et, si souhaité, un répondant.
Les propositions (et les interventions) peuvent être faites en Anglais ou en Français.
La date limite pour l’envoi des propositions(200 mots) est le 30 avril 2015. Veuillez les adresser à :
Ce colloque accueillera l’assemblée annuelle du Réseau d’études canadiennes/Canada Studies Network. Il est organisé par le McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, dans le cadre de son programme Canada in the Americas Initiative en partenariat avec le Département d’études anglaises de l’Université de Montréal. Les participants sont aussi avisés qu’ils devront prendre en charge leurs frais afférents.

CFP | Borderland Communities and Cultural Identities Straddling the Canada-US Border

The 50th Annual Conference of the Canadian Sociological Association will be held from Monday, June 1 through to Friday, June 5, 2015 as part of the Canadian Federation of Humanities and Social Sciences Congress, this year taking place at the University of Ottawa in Ottawa, Ontario.

The Call for Abstracts is now open. Full details here:

CCUSB followers might be particularly interested in the session detailed below, which is organised by Jan Clarke and Rémy Tremblay in affiliation with CCUSB.


Session Organizers:
Jan Clarke, Algoma University, Sociology,
Rémy Tremblay, TÉLUQ – Université du Québec,
This session includes papers that focus on the unique social, political and cultural context across the Canada-US border to question and reconfigure the social shaping of borderland communities and cultural identities.  While this area may be addressed from several theoretical perspectives, topics of particular interest include: cultural hybridity, cultures of surveillance, environmental crossings, cross-boundary tourism, migration and immigration, racialization along the border, media and cultural representation, cross-border friendships.
This session is linked to Culture and the Canada-US Border (CCUSB), a Leverhulme Trust funded international research network studying cultural representations, production and exchange on and around the Canada-US Border.
Cette session comprend des articles qui mettent l’accent sur les contextes social, politique et culturel uniques à la frontière canado-américaine afin de se questioner et de reconfigurer la formation sociale des communautés frontalières et leurs identités culturelles. Bien que ce domaine peut être abordé sous plusieurs angles théoriques, des sujets d’intérêt particuliers comprennent: l’hybridité culturelle, les cultures de surveillance, les passages de l’environnement, le tourisme transfrontalier, la migration et l’immigration, la racialisation, les médias et les représentations culturelles de même que les amitiés transfrontalières.
Cette session est liée au Culture and the Canada-US Border (CCUSB), un réseau de recherche international financé par le Leverhulme Trust, lequel étudie les représentations culturelles, la production et l’échange sur et autour de la frontière canado-américaine.


CFP | Queer Frontiers in Canadian and Québécois Literature

CFP: Queer Frontiers in Canadian and Québécois Literature.

The concept of frontier is most productive in thinking about queer experience. The spatial frontier separates the invisibility of private intimacy from the visibility of public life; the freedom and security of queer districts (for instance, the Village in Montreal, Church Street in Toronto, and Davie Street in Vancouver) from the heteronormative erasure of queer life in towns and cities throughout Canada. The border is also temporal and generational, separating childhood, adolescence, adulthood and old age of those who live their queer experiences in extremely different ways. It marks queer legal status before and after same-sex marriage; queer history before and after the appearance of HIV, AIDS and tritherapies; and larger social histories before and after the sexual liberation struggles of the sixties and seventies.

Many questions may guide an analysis of the concept of the frontier in the representation of queer experience; for instance, what are the borders which separate gays and lesbians in their twenties from those in their sixties? What are the borders which mark class differences in the LBGT community? Which are the frontiers between gender normativity in the public sphere and the challenges of gender performativities of femininity, masculinity, male femininity, female masculinity, the femininity or masculinity of transsexuals, etc.? Sexuality is also problematic and must be understood within a logic of agency and of the multitude of choices which are offered, from total sexual abstinence to the most unrestrained sexuality. Many other factors define, separate and cohere in the multiple experiences of queers in Canada and Quebec: including the plurality of desires, racial, ethnic and cultural identities, nationality and transnationality, postcolonialism and globalization, Indigeneity and autochthony, heteronormativity and homonormativity, the defense of marginality, and so on. 

It is in this context that we invite scholars of Québécois, Canadian, and Indigenous literatures to explore the concept of the frontier in works which represent the experiences of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, trans*, intersexual, genderqueer, Two-Spirit, and/or drag and transvestite subjects—in other words, of queer realities. Papers may include analysis of novels, poetry, short stories, and theatre, and may focus on a single work or a set of texts, relate either to Francophone, Anglophone, or Indigenous literatures exclusively, or be a comparative analysis of the literary traditions of Quebec and English Canada.

All submissions to Canadian Literature must be original, unpublished work. Essays should follow current MLA bibliographic format (MLA Handbook, 7th ed). Maximum word length for articles is 6,500 words, which includes endnotes and works cited. 

Submissions should be uploaded to Canadian Literature’s online submission system CanLit Submit by the deadline of March 1, 2015
Questions in advance of the deadline may be addressed to: Jorge Calderon (  and Domenico Beneventi (

Frontières queers dans la littérature québécoise et canadienne

La notion de « frontière » est des plus productives afin de penser l’expérience queer. La frontière spatiale sépare l’invisibilité de l’intimité et la visibilité socio-culturelle ; la liberté et la sécurité des quartiers queers (par exemple le Village à Montréal, Church Street à Toronto et Davie Village à Vancouver) et l’oppression, le danger et l’effacement de la vie queer dans de nombreux villages et villes à travers le Canada. La frontière est aussi temporelle. Elle sépare l’enfance, l’adolescence, l’âge adulte et la vieillesse des personnes qui vivent leur expérience queer de manières fort différentes. Elle marque aussi l’histoire queer avant le droit au mariage de personnes de même sexe, et après ; avant la trithérapie contre le VIH, et après ; avant l’apparition du sida, et après ; avant les luttes de libération sexuelle des années 60 et 70, et après.
De nombreuses problématiques peuvent guider l’analyse de la frontière dans la représentation de l’expérience queer. Par exemple, quelles sont les frontières qui séparent les gays et les lesbiennes dans la vingtaine de ceux dans la soixantaine ? Quelles sont les frontières qui marquent la différence entre les personnes riches et les personnes pauvres ? Quelles sont les enjeux du genre sexuel : la féminité, la masculinité, la féminité masculine, la masculinité féminine, la féminité et la masculinité transsexuelles, etc. ? La sexualité est aussi fort problématique. Il faut ici penser à la multitude de choix qui sont offerts de l’abstinence sexuelle totale jusqu’à la sexualité la plus effrénée et démesurée. De nombreux autres facteurs définissent, séparent et relient entre elles les multiples expériences queers au Canada et au Québec : entre autres la pluralité le désirs, l’identité raciale, ethnique et culturelle, les questions nationales et transnationales, le postcolonialisme et la globalisation, les réalités des Premières Nations et des autochtones, l’hétéronormativité et l’homonormativité, la défense de la marginalité, etc. 

C’est dans ce contexte que nous invitons les spécialistes de littérature québécoise, canadienne, et autochtone à explorer la fonction de la notion de frontière dans des œuvres qui traitent principalement de l’expérience de gays, de lesbiennes, de bisexuel(le)s, de personnes bispirituelles des Premières Nations, de drag queens et kings, de travesti(e)s, de transsexuel(le)s, d’intersexuel(le)s, en d’autres mots de la réalité queer. Les études peuvent porter sur le roman, la poésie, l’essai et le théâtre. Elles peuvent être centrées sur une œuvre en particulier ou sur un ensemble de textes. Elles peuvent porter soit sur la littérature francophone, soit sur la littérature anglophone, soit sur la littérature autochtone. Ou encore elles peuvent comparer les traditions littéraires francophone, anglophone, et autochtone au Québec et au Canada.

Tous les articles soumis à Canadian Literature doivent être des travaux orginaux et ne doivent pas avoir été publiés auparavant. Les articles doivent être présentés en suivant les règles bibliographiques du MLA. (MLA Handbook, 7e éd). Le nombre maximal de mots pour un article est limité à 6 500 mots, ce qui inclut les notes en fin de texte et la liste des références. 
Les articles doivent être téléchargés à partir du système en ligne du site Web de Canadian Literature à CanLit Submit au plus part le 1er septembre, 2014.

Si vous avez des questions avant la date butoir de soumission des articles, prière de contacter Jorge Calderon (  and Domenico Beneventi (
Date butoir: 1 mars, 2015

CfP | Theorising the Canada-US Border

CCUSB SYMPOSIUM: Theorising the Canada-US Border
University of Kent at Paris, 15-16 May, 2015

Border theory tends to be associated with the multiple strands of mestizo/a lived experience in the Mexico-US borderlands. But how far can site-specific border theory travel, even within North America? To what extent do the insights of Mexico-US border theory—including notions of hybridity and the accommodating spaces of los intersticios in the borderlands—offer a useful theoretical framework for discussing cultural manifestations of the Canada-US border? How does the 49th parallel’s oft-proclaimed status as ‘the longest undefended border in the world,’ its particular colonial histories and neo-colonial present, its scarring of Indigenous territories, and its simultaneous division and linking of two G8 nation-states inflect the border theories of such key texts as Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera (1987), Renato Rosaldo’s Culture and Truth (1989), Emily Hicks’s Border Writing (1991), and Héctor Calderón & José David Saldívar, Criticism in the Borderlands (1991)?

These texts cross a range of disciplinary developments, which include interventions in feminist theory, queer theory, race and ethnicity studies, and wider applications to geographical borders elsewhere in the world, as well as a “crossing” into the older borderlands studies pursued in the social sciences. That these four texts largely pertain to lived experience in the South American and Mexico-US borderlands, and that the concepts derived from them often extrapolate universal qualities from local concerns, present both a challenge and a problem. If the problem—of generalization and loose abstraction—is obvious, the challenge to scholars of border theory surely lies in rendering site-specificity to borders/borderlands, while theorizing those sites in ways that contribute generally to understandings of borderlands experience.

This two-day symposium seeks to cultivate Canada-US border theory. We invite proposals for papers that consider border theory at the 49th parallel, that theorise the border, and that explore the potential of theory to illuminate the cultural implications of the Canada-US border’s functions . Whether applying and testing border theory in its present iterations, or seeking to theorise the Canada-US border more specifically, work that considers the cultural contexts of the Canada-US border is in short supply in border theory. This symposium aims to address that deficiency by exploring the specific issues and challenges, and the potential interventions into border theory, presented by the Canada-US border/borderlands, and questions of border crossing, border culture, the ‘undefended’ border, etc.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, papers that consider any of the following in relation to the Canada-US border, as well as papers that seek to apply border theory to specific cultural texts:

The discursive limits of border theory
Indigenizing border theory at the Canada-US border
Indigenous sovereignty and the politics of recognition/refusal at the border
Theorising resistance and activism at the border
Canada-US border metaphors
Metaphor vs lived experience (theoretical vs. empiricist approaches)
Application of cultural theory from other paradigms (eg. postcolonialism, regionalism, critical regionalism, etc) to the Canada-US border
The political implications of theoretical work
Canada-Mexico “borderlands”
Comparative Mexico-US and Canada-US border theory
Unsettling the nation/state

Please send 250 word proposals plus a brief CV to by Monday December 1st 2014.

The return of fear on the U.S.-Canada border |

Not since the terrorist attacks of September 2001 have ordinary people been as concerned about the risk of a terrorist attack inside the United States. Since Islamic State militants began seizing swaths of Iraq and Syria and beheading Western hostages, nearly half of Americans now believe their country is less safe today than before the 9/11 attacks, according to a recent NBC poll. That’s almost double the number from just one year ago.

Citing the potential for jihadists with Western passports to enter undetected into the U.S., some Washington politicians sound downright panicked. “This is a turning point in the war on terror,” South Carolina Sen.Lindsay Graham told Fox News. He called on President Barack Obama to deploy thousands of ground troops to Iraq, “before we all get killed back here at home.”

“They intend to kill us. And if we don’t destroy them first, we’re going to pay the price,” said House Speaker John Boehner this Sunday. Obama’s own secretary of defence, Chuck Hagel, has called the Islamic State group “an imminent threat to every interest we have.” John Allen, a retired four-star Marine Corps General who formerly led the war effort in Afghanistan, declared it “a clear and present danger.”

Fears were heightened when the Iraqi president, Haider al-Abadi, said on Sept. 25 that there was credible evidence of a plot by Islamic State to attack subways in New York. Police presence was beefed up in stations and Mayor Bill de Blasio rode the trains to reassure the public. Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence agencies said they had no indication of such a threat.

Whenever Americans get scared, Canadians brace for economic repercussions. The attacks of 9/11 led to security policies that critics say resulted in a “thickening” of the border that hampers commerce and trade. In the 13 years since, enormous government and corporate efforts have gone into trying to roll back, or make more efficient, the resulting wave of new security procedures in the name of keeping commerce alive. But many of the steps are permanent: from arming Canadian customs officers to a requirement that all travellers carry a passport in order to cross the international line. The border is now once again in the political crosshairs. “There is a great concern that our southern border, and our northern border, is porous and that [terrorists] will be coming across,” said Sen. John McCain this month.

Full story: The return of fear on the U.S.-Canada border –

CfP | The International Journal of Migration and Border Studies – Issue (2015): 3

Editor in Chief: Prof. France Houle, Université de Montréal, Canada


The International Journal of Migration and Border Studies (IJMBS) is pleased to announce a call for papers for its third issue in 2015.

IJMBS aims to bring together a diverse range of scholars and practitioners to advance knowledge and improve practice and methodologies in a broad range of issued related to migration and borders studies. Broadly speaking, it seeks to provide different perspectives to its readership ranging from exclusion to integration of permanent, temporary and irregular migrants as well as asylum seekers. Articles covering a large spectrum of topics addressing the development of international, transnational and national immigration policies viewed in a broad sense are welcome. What could be the best practices regarding inclusion? Which measures have exclusionary effects? Some examples of themes this journal intends to cover are listed below.

Subject Coverage

Broad themes on which articles are sought include but are not limited to:

  • Innovations in institutional, procedural and social arrangements to deal with border security and immigration policy
  • Personal information databases and exchanges
  • Measures to restrict access to asylum
  • The coherence and coordination between various actors dealing with issues such as health, education, social welfare, employment and law enforcement in the migration context
  • Causes and consequences (economic, social, political, environmental, etc.) of migration and their legal and policy implications
  • Local, regional and international mechanisms and logics that transform political and media discourses, norms, policies and practices related to migration and border studies
  • Development of new priorities for immigration programmes
  • The role of gender, age, social status, ability, race and other factors in curtailing border and immigration policies
  • Indigenous rights and claims and border and migration studies

IJMBS is a peer-reviewed journal which offers a forum for disciplinary and inter-disciplinary research concerning conceptual, theoretical, empirical and methodological dimensions related to key concepts that underpin them: borders, immigration and integration policies, humanitarianism, sovereignty, states, citizenship, etc. Such critical analysis contributes to a better understanding of current challenges from different disciplinary perspectives including law, sociology, anthropology, social policy and social welfare, criminology, political economy, political science and public politics.

The journal invites submissions from both emerging and established scholars, including graduate students, post-graduates, professors and practitioners from around the globe, with the objective of ensuring that a plurality of experiences and perspectives is represented.

Notes for Prospective Authors
Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. (N.B. Conference papers may only be submitted if the paper has been completely re-written and if appropriate written permissions have been obtained from any copyright holders of the original paper).
All papers are refereed through a peer review process.

All papers must be submitted online. Please read our information on preparing and submitting articles.

Important Date
Submission deadline: 31st January, 2015

Conference | Border Songs: Western Literature Association Conference 2014

November 5, 2014 – November 8, 2014


The Department of English at the University of Victoria is the host institution for the Western Literature Association’s annual conference in 2014. The WLA returns to Canada after two very successful past Canadian meetings: Vancouver in 1995 and Banff in 1998.

The 49th Annual Meeting of the Western Literature Association will be held just south of the 49th parallel. From the conference venue, the Fairmont Empress Hotel, two countries, and the homelands of several nations, are visible. The site is the perfect location from which to address the theme of the conference: Border Songs.

The conference is hosted by the Co-Presidents of the Western Literature Association for 2014: Laurie Ricou and Anne Kaufman.

View registration and programme details here

Recent blog posts

A few recent posts on the CCUSB blog:

Workshop Report | Security, Immigration, and the Cultures of the Canada-US Border

by David Stirrup

Guest Post | Canada’s Superheroes (Made in USA): American Depictions of Canadian Geopolitics in Alpha Flight

by Christoper Doody