This Book Is the product of many years of teaching, writing, videomaking, and filmmaking. Through it all I have benefited from the advice and input of colleagues, students, friends, and my family. In many respects, the diversity of issues that I address reflect the context in which I live and work, a place on the borders of America and Canada — Quebec, and within it, McGill University. A sabbatical finally allowed me to bring all of this material together, and financial support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council was crucial to the research on video. Previous research leaves from LaTrobe University in Melbourne, Australia, enabled me to travel to the Marshall Islands and to develop a more profound understanding of the importance of community video to nonwestern cultures. Lectures at the University of Amsterdam allowed me to articulate some of my ambivalences about alternative media and the generally negative attitude of video practitioners to popular culture. A semester-long course, "Television in the Light of Postmodern Theory" in the Graduate Program in Communications, encouraged me to deepen my appreciation of postmodern thought. I am grateful to many of my students for their input, including Haidee Wasson, Scott MacKenzie, Michelle Gauthier, Aurora Wallace, Stacey Johnson, Chandrabhanu Pattanayak, Lynne Darroch, Murray Foreman, Alain Pericard, Marian Bredin, Anne Beaulieu, Cara Pike, and Suzie Fry.
The Dutch filmmaker Johan van der Keuken has taught me more about the documentary cinema and photography than he can imagine. My discussions and correspondence with him have had an effect beyond words. I am grateful to and have learned from Peter Ohlin, Peter Harcourt, Hamid Naficy, George Marcus, Michael Fischer, Will Straw, David Hemsley, Robert Daudelin, Gertrude Robinson, George Szanto, R`al Larochelle, Kass Banning, Janine Marchessault, Kay Armitage, Atom Egoyan, William Routt, Rick Thompson, Tom O'Regan, John Hinkson, John Galaty, Hugh Armstrong, Pat Armstrong, Barbara Creed, Thomas Elsaesser, Merrill Findlay, Patricia Gruben, Dena Gleeson, Marc Glassman, Charles Levin, Paisley Livingston, Mette Hiort, Laura Mulvey, Patricia Mellencamp, Teresa de Lauretis, Kaja Silverman, Bill Nichols, John Richardson, Michael Silverman, Michael Renov, Susan Feld