Saturday, June 26, 2010

Best academic article title(s)

Selling Canada to Canadians: collective memory, national identity, and popular culture (by Emily West, Critical Studies in Media Communication, 2002, 19:2: 212-229)

abstract: Two media endeavours, the Heritage Minutes and the CBC documentary Canada: A People's History , hope to serve as a corrective to Canadians' lack of interest in their history and to bolster national identity. However, the producers do not want to appear propagandistic in a country where there is conflict about what the shape of the nation should be. They accomplish this by appealing to the "on the spot" authority of journalistic representation and the emotional immediacy of dramatic story-telling. They also emphasize the multi-cultural and multi-perspectival nature of Canada's past. Ultimately these efforts exist within a larger narrative about the "story of Canada," where events of the past are framed in terms of their contribution or relevance to the present shape of the nation-state. In this way, these programs reveal their purpose and, as collective memory scholars might predict, press the past into the service of present aims.

Planting the nation: Tree planting art and the endurance of Canadian nationalism (by Michael Ekers, Space and Culture, 2010, 13:1: 95-120)

abstract: Planting trees under a piece-rate wage scheme is widely recognized in Canada as a veritable national "rite of passage" for young,White, middle-class university students and travelers. Canadian artists Sarah Ann Johnson, Lorraine Gilbert, and Althea Thauberger have received popular and critical acclaim for their artistic representations of the "tree planting experience" in Canada. In this article, the authors critically examine tree planting art—and its reception—and argue that it constitutes the most recent incarnation of art that links nature and nationalism together in the Canadian context. Following Catriona Sandilands incisive reflections on nature and nationalism in Canada, it is argued that the artists in question, and their various commentators, enshrine tree planting as an obligatory passage point through which White middle-class subjects can access both the "pioneering" moments of the nation and the promised greener tomorrow of Canada’s future. The connections made by the artists between nature and the nation are by no means innocent, as the authors aim to suggest, but rather, rely on a liberal-individualist account of labor in which the social dynamics of gender, class, and race are erased.

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