Under the general title of Borderlands, the three relatedessays in this monograph address the rhetoric of border/boundary inCanadian studies and its social, political, and cultural implications,the character of cultural responses to Canada-US border tensions, andtwo specific examples of how border transgressions continue to affectcurrent Washington State and British Columbia cultural expression.
A number of motifs appear throughout these essays, including thepolitics of separation, the persistence of racist discourse in NorthAmerica (and of attempts to counter it), the role of education ininforming public debate, the existence of communally-held social valuesin Canada, the necessity of the arts, the power of language, and therelation between social choice and indeterminacy.
The first essay, 'Giddy Limits,' ranges the most widely,drawing on examples from history and literature, geography and popularculture. It elucidates the politics of various recurrent rhetoricalstrategies in Canadian cultural commentary. The second essay, 'TheEdge of Everything,' pursues a series of specific applications of'border rhetoric' (including irony, national policies, andoppositional strategies) to Canada-US relations. The third essay,'The Centre of Somewhere Else,' looks in part at the rhetoricof two contemporary writers (Seattle's David Guterson andVictoria's Jack Hodgins) in relation to the 1859 Pig War and tocurricular reform. This final essay demonstrates further how the largeissues raised in the first two essays resonate both in historicalnarrative and in contemporary social and cultural practice.