The Beaver Bites Back? American Popular Culture in Canada

The Beaver Bites Back? American Popular Culture in Canada

The Beaver Bites Back? American Popular Culture in Canada

The Beaver Bites Back? American Popular Culture in Canada

Synopsis

The contributing authors explore three aspects of American culture: its transmission by means of print and broadcast media and through live events in sport, entertainment, religious evangelism, and other public productions; its influence on Canadian popular culture; and the variety of Canadian responses. They suggest that the Canadian version of American popular culture is far more than a copy. Instead, it is frequently a creative response - often parodic in tone and subversive in intent - that gives public expression to Canadian sentiment and sensibility and provides protection from, and resistance to, American domination. Ironically, it may be in responding to American culture that Canadian sovereignty finds its most meaningful and potent articulation. Specialists and scholars from a wide variety of disciplines, the contributors discuss a range of cultural forms and performances. Each example, while "made in Canada," is related to an American alternative but has a large Canadian audience. Taking a rich variety of perspectives on this complex relationship, The Beaver Bites Back? demands that Canadian popular culture be accorded its proper status. The contributors are G. Stuart Adam, Michael M. Ames, Robert Knight Barney, Seth Feldman, Bruce Feldhusen, David H. Flaherty, Reid Gilbert, Andrew Lyons, Harriet Lyons, John MacAloon, Frank E. Manning, Thelma McCormack, Mary Jane Miller, Bernard Ostry, Charline Poirier, Paul Rutherford, Robert A. Stebbins, Michael Taft, Geoffrey Wall, and Andrew Wernick.

Excerpt

The central goal of this volume of collected essays is to examine the impact of American popular culture in Canada and the Canadian response thereto. Three general processes affecting American popular culture are explored: its transmission by means of print and broadcast media and through "live" performances of sport, entertainment, religious evangelism, and other public productions; its influence on Canadian popular culture; and the variety of Canadian responses to it.

While U.S. popular culture is undoubtedly a powerful presence in Canada, as all of us notice in our daily lives, it has evoked surprisingly little scholarly research. the deficiency stems in part from a lack of academic resources. There are no university departments in Canada devoted to popular culture studies. Folklore, the major cognate field, is only slightly better developed, but the country's only two departments -- at Laval and Memorial Universities in Quebec and Newfoundland respectively -- have concentrated on research in their local areas, which are the parts of Canada least affected by American popular culture. Nor is there a professional society for popular culture studies in Canada.

The lack of study of American popular culture in Canada may also reflect the conventional assumption that Canadians have completely and uncritically adopted it as their own. Such a view precludes examination of what is surely a complex and problematic process of cultural transmission. It also fails to take account of a recipient society's tendency to select and transform the cultural sym-

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