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 Experience the Events
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Borderlines/Borderlands:
Culture and the Canada–U.S.
International Boundary

Paper Abstracts and Participant Biographies

Symposium: June 14–16, 2010
Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave., SE
Washington, DC 20540

 

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Adam Arenson
Adam Arenson.
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Adam Arenson
The University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract: "After the Underground Railroad: African North Americans and the Transnational Nature of Reconstruction." Tens of thousands of African Americans followed the fabled "Underground Railroad" into Canada before the Civil War. Yet after the Emancipation Proclamation, many African Americans returned to the United States — whether to fight for the Union and emancipation, to seek new lives and new rights in Reconstruction, or to reconnect with their American families in the decades that followed.

This presentation discusses this reverse migration, and its implications for our understanding of Reconstruction, Americanness, and the formulation of the U.S.'s northern borderlands. Using U.S. and Canadian Census records, Civil War pension files, newspapers, letters, and memoirs in both countries, and literary and artistic representations, this study recovers the meaning of the U.S.- Canada border for African Americans. Findings include the registering of Canadian-born or Canadian-residing African Americans for the U.S. Colored Troops; the first naturalization law in U.S. history enacted for a nonwhite population; and the ideological justification by returnees for entering Reconstruction politics. It argues that African Americans in Canada gained the power of comparison: When struggling for access to social and political participation in the United States, they had a reference point for formulating of notions of freedom after slavery, though a mixed record of success while living in the Dominion. This project places African American political actions and cultural arguments within a transnational, hemispheric context.

Biography: Dr. Adam Arenson is an assistant professor at the University of Texas at El Paso. He holds an A.B. from Harvard College and a PhD from Yale University. He is a historian of nineteenth-century North America, investigating the cultural and political history of slavery, Civil War, and Reconstruction and tracing the development of American cities, especially in the American West and its borderlands. His first book, The Great Heart of the Republic: St. Louis and the Cultural Civil War, is forthcoming from Harvard University Press in late 2010. He is co-editing a volume on frontier cities, with Jay Gitlin and Barbara Berglund; and expanding his work on the Civil War in the trans-Mississippi West by organizing a conference with the Clements Center for Southwest Studies. He has published a half-dozen articles, including pieces on Dred Scott's family and Anglo-Saxonism in the Yukon Territory. He is a regular contributor to the Making History Podcast blog.

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Brian Carter
Brian Carter.
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Brian Carter
State University of New York at Buffalo

Abstract: "Architecture of the Border." [no abstract]

Biography: Brian Carter is a Professor of Architecture and Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York. Prior to taking up an academic appointment in America Professor Carter worked in practice as an architect in England and West Africa. The designer of several award-winning buildings, he is also the author of many books, including one on the work of Frank Lloyd Wright. A contributor to international architectural journals, Brian Carter has curated exhibitions on the work of Charles and Ray Eames, the architects Eero Saarinen and Albert Kahn and the engineer Peter Rice.

Former chair of architecture at the University of Michigan from 1994 – 2001 he was Pietro Belluschi Distinguished Visiting Professor in Architectural Design at the University of Oregon in 2002. Brian Carter is a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

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Henry Champ
Henry Champ.
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Henry Champ
Journalist, Reporter

Henry Champ is a veteran reporter with a journalism career spanning 40 years. During that time he has covered some of the world's biggest stories. He is known for being one of the last correspondents to leave Vietnam during the fall of Saigon, and one of the first Canadian journalists to be admitted into the People's Republic of China.

Although Champ began his career as a print reporter for the Brandon Sun in Manitoba, he is best known for his time in TV. Many Canadians remember Champ as the tough investigative reporter for CTV's W5 program, where for 15 years he exposed and uncovered some of the top Canadian stories of that time. During the 1980s, Champ was a front-line correspondent for NBC News, covering tumultuous political events in Europe and the Middle East. In 1993, Champ moved back to Canada to join the anchor team at CBC News: Morning in Halifax. Later, he went on to become the CBC Newsworld correspondent in Washington, DC.

Passionate about politics, current events and hard-hitting news, Champ retired days after the biggest story of the century — the election of Barack Obama, the United States' first African-American president. But after four decades of news, Champ still has his hand in the business, contributing to a bi-weekly column for CBCNews.ca.

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Beverly Diamond
Beverly Diamond.
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Beverley Diamond
Memorial University, St. Johns, Newfoundland

Abstract: "Native American Women and Cross-Border Tourism in the early 20th Century." In part because the land base of many First Nations spans it, the border between Canada and the U.S. has had different significance for Native Americans than for other populations. Relevant for my presentation at the Borderlines/Borderlands symposium is the opportunity that cross-border tourist markets have presented to Native American craftspeople, performers and entrepreneurs, particularly in the last decade of the 19th and early 20th century. Particular sites such as Niagara Falls or Saratoga were especially lucrative for basket makers, and others who resided north of the border. Additionally, resort hotels in New England attracted Mi'kmaq, Passamaquoddy Mohawk and Abenaki from Eastern Canada who frequently wintered north but moved south of the border to sell wares or perform during the summer. My paper will include a re-reading of the work of Santu Toney, a woman of Beothuk descent who is known through an audio recording made by anthropologist Frank Speck in 1910. Her story is particularly interesting since the Beothuk were allegedly extinct by 1828, and since Speck and contemporaries looked to her for "authentic" evidence of this culture of the past without considering how her work connected to a growing cross-border and cross-cultural economy of her own day.

Biography: Dr. Diamond (B.Mus, MA PhD University of Toronto) is a Canadian ethnomusicologist who assumed the Canada Research Chair in Traditional Music at Memorial University in 2002. Before arriving in St. John's she held full-time teaching positions at McGill, Queen's, and York Universities, as well as visiting professorships at the University of Toronto and Harvard University. She recently was named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC), the highest academic honor in Canada.

Since the early 1970s, Diamond has worked extensively in Inuit and First Nations communities in the Northwest Territories, Labrador, Quebec, and Ontario. Recently she has done research in Sami communities in Norway and Finland. The relationship of music to issues of cultural identity (relating to such diverse subjects as women's expressive cultures, musical instruments as cultural metaphor, and indigenous popular music) have been central to her work. Her publications include the co-authoring, with M. Sam Cronk and F. von Rosen the book Visions of Sound: Musical Instruments of First Nations Communities in Northeastern America (1994); co-editing with Robert Witmer, Canadian Music: Issues of Hegemony and Identity, (1994); and serving as editorial advisor for Canada for the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. A recent research project, the Canadian Musical Pathways Project, involved oral history and festival documentation, in six culturally diverse communities.

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Mayor Paul Dyster
Niagra Falls Mayor Paul Dyster.
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The Honorable Paul Dyster
Mayor of Niagara Falls, New York

Paul Dyster was born and raised in Niagara Falls. He has a PhD in International Relations and Law from Johns Hopkins University, and spent the first half of his career as a college professor. He directed the Catholic University of America’s International Affairs Program, and worked on arms control negotiations for the State Department in Geneva, Switzerland. Since 1992, he has been co‐owner with his wife Becky of Niagara Tradition, a distributor of supplies for beer and winemaking. From 2000 to 2003, Paul served on the Niagara Falls City Council. He then served as president of the board of the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center, as president and chairman of the Niagara Experience Center, and on the executive board of the Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper. In 2005, he became chairman of the Citizens Advisory Committee of the Niagara River Greenway Commission. In 2006, he was named Citizen of the Year by the Niagara Gazette and Conservationist of the Year by the Niagara Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club. In 2007, Paul was elected mayor of Niagara Falls in a landslide. He won almost 80% of the vote, and won in every electoral ward in the City.

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Julian Faid
Julian Faid.
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Julian Faid
Rapid Fire Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta

Julian Faid has been a member of the cast of Rapid Fire Theatre for over ten years. Improv has taken Julian all over the world. He has travelled for improv festivals in Calgary, Vancouver, Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto, Atlanta, and Los Angeles. He has also represented the alberta arts in Washington DC at the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival and was nominated for Best Show at the New Zealand Comedy Festival in Auckland, New Zealand. Julian performs at Theatresports most Fridays and is a member of two troupes performing at Chimprov – "Like Father, Like Son" with Jessie McPhee, and "The Young Guns" with Joe Vanderhelm and Arlen Konopaki.

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David Hackett Fischer
David Hackett Fischer.
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David Hackett Fischer 
The Earl Warren Professor of History, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts

Keynote address: "One Continent, Many Cultures."  Abstract: "Where Do We Come From, Who are We? Where are We Going?" Paul Gauguin posed the questions in his painting of the same name.  This inquiry is a search for answers on both sides of the North American Border.  It is a comparative history of founding origins, first encounters, early memories, and enduring dreams in the vernacular cultures of Canada and the United States. 

Biography:  A prolific and award-winning historian, Fischer's publications have addressed widely varied topics from British settlement of North America (Albion's Seed), to the history of the American Revolution (Paul Revere's Ride, Washington's Crossing), to historiography (Historians' Fallacies). In 2008, he turned his attention to the history of Canada with the publication of Champlain's Dream, a study of the French explorer Samuel de Champlain.

Dr. Fischer received his PhD from Johns Hopkins University and his B.A. from Princeton University. His many awards include the Pulitzer prize in history for Washington's Crossing (2005); American Association of University Presses prize for overall excellence for Albion's Seed; Book of the Year Awards for Paul Revere's Ride (1995); and the Irving Kristol Prize from the American Enterprise Institute (2006).  He has been elected to membership by the Century Association of New York (2006), named an Honorary Life Member by Society of the Cincinnati (2006); and elected a Member of the "L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres" with the rank of Commandeur by decree of the French Minister de la culture et communication. (2009).

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Vicktor Konrad
Victor Konrad.
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Victor Konrad
Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario

Abstract: "Imagination, Identity, Affinity, and the Social Construction of Borderlands Culture." Borders and cultures are both diminished, ostensibly, through globalization, yet both concepts have re-emerged as more evident, real and powerful social constructs in the 21st century. Combined as one concept, as borderlands culture, the constructions of more emphatic division, on the one hand, merge with the more strained, intense and anxious threads of connection, on the other hand, to display a new cultural geography in the borderlands. This geography, at and near the border, displays greater and more defined spatiality: the boundary line is more evident, flows across the border are channeled, connections are managed, communities on the line are at once differentiated and selectively aligned, and cross-border culture is seeking a new spatial order in an era of security primacy. In North America, Americans and Canadians are re-evaluating and re-inventing the borderlines and borderlands that both divide and link two nation states and many nations and regions. The imagination or re-imagination of the border is led inordinately by fear, and the powerful forces of securitization and militarization, once directed outward globally, are now focused inward as homeland security by the United States. Identity now requires verification at the border according to national standards, and the numerous hybrid, transient and traditional forms are not acknowledged or tolerated. Borderlands, once an amorphous construct of affinity between Canada and the United States, "a common ground" of interaction and integration, are now emerging as scaled-down, managed corridors and gateways where "top-down" visions for national security and identity fail to align with "bottom-up" regional, community and cross-border organizational re-imagination of how the border works. Borderlands culture, always a latent yet vital force in the mediation of the "world's longest undefended border," is challenged in the 21st century as Americans and Canadians attempt to re-invent the border between them, yet risk the loss of the borderland integration that assures continuity and sustainability in a rapidly evolving global reconstruction of space and culture.

Biography: Dr. Victor Konrad (PhD, C. Dir.) is Director of North Wing Consulting, Ottawa, and Adjunct Research Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies at Carleton University. Konrad was Visiting Fellow at the Border Policy Research Institute, Western Washington University (2009). From 1990-2001, he established the Canada-US Fulbright Program, and the Foundation for Educational Exchange between Canada and the United States. During the 1970s and 1980s, he was a professor of Geography and Anthropology at the University of Maine, and Director of the Canadian-American Center. Konrad was President of the Association of Canadian Studies in the United States, and recipient of the Donner Medal. He has served on numerous boards and graduated in the inaugural class of certified directors in Canada. His most recent book, with Heather Nicol, Beyond Walls: Re-Inventing the Canada-United States Borderlands, was published in 2008. Konrad has been engaged in border research and public policy since the early 1980s. Currently, he serves on the Board of Directors of the Association of Borderlands Studies and the International Advisory Board of the Journal of Borderlands Studies.

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Timothy G. Lynch
Timothy G. Lynch.
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Timothy G. Lynch
California Maritime Academy, California State University
, Vallejo, California

Abstract: "The Fenian Frontier: Irish Nationalism, Anglo American Relations and the Making of the Canadian American Border." In the early days of June 1866, a band of Irish militiamen stormed across the American Canadian border and invaded British North America. Calling themselves the Fenian Brotherhood, these filibusters hoped to precipitate a conflict between the United States and Great Britain, believing that one result of such a battle would be Irish independence. Founded in New York City in March of 1858, the Fenians were an Irish nationalist organization whose expressed aim was to procure money, weapons, and military training that would be used to secure an independent, republican Ireland through the forced removal of Great Britain from that island. Together with its European counterpart, the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), the Fenians actively solicited funds and openly recruited men to serve in their "army of liberation." At its zenith, the American arm of this transatlantic movement established a "government in exile" and claimed some 40,000 members, with many times that number of open sympathizers. On several occasions, the Brotherhood successfully rescued Irish prisoners from English jails, and launched a number of invasions into Canada, attempting to hold that portion of the British Empire as ransom for Ireland. During its existence, the organization could count on the support of American politicians who sought to earn the Irish vote by embracing the Brotherhood's ideals. This was particularly true during the tumultuous years of Reconstruction, when both the Democrats and the Radical Republicans actively courted the Fenian vote. The New York Times acknowledged these political games, claiming that the beleaguered Fenians were harried on both sides of the Atlantic, "chased by British troops through the bogs and fens of Ireland, and by congressional demagogues through the swamps of American politics." Following a series of fractious and bitter disputes, the movement splintered into smaller factions, all of which eventually dissolved. This presentation seeks to place the Fenians in a wider transatlantic context and examines how the goal of Irish independence led to the unintended consequence of fostering Canadian nationalism.

Biography: Dr. Timothy Lynch earned his doctoral degree in American History at the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York in 2004. A member of the North American Society of Oceanic Historians and the National Maritime Historical Society, Lynch teaches courses in American and World Maritime History and is the founder and editor of H-Maritime, a listserv dedicated to maritime affairs. A participant in Mystic Seaport's Frank C. Munson Institute of American Maritime Studies, Dr. Lynch's interests include maritime history in general and West Coast maritime history in particular. To that end, he has developed close working relationships with numerous local and regional maritime history museums and programs. His areas of specialization include nineteenth-century American maritime history, particularly the rise of the Pacific Coast, and the role of San Francisco and California in American and global maritime history. His work has appeared in such journals as The International Journal of Maritime History, the Northern Mariner, and The Nautical Research Journal, and he is currently researching and writing a monograph, Beyond the Golden Gate: A Maritime History of California.

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Birgit Matthiesen
Birgit Matthiesen.
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Birgit Matthiesen
Special Advisor to the President and US Government Relations
Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters

Birgit Matthiesen is currently the Senior Advisor, US Government Relations, to the President and CEO of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Association. In this capacity, she is the association’s point person in the United States to advocate trade and economic issues on behalf of Canada’s manufacturing and export interests. She covers the Hill and the Executive Branch, and works closely with U.S. associations such as the National Association of Manufacturers, and the US Chamber of Commerce.

Prior to her appointment to the CME, Matthiesen was on staff at the Embassy of Canada in Washington DC in the Economic and Trade Policy Division, where she was often referred to by colleagues as the Embassy's "border person." In 2005, she was called to Ottawa to join the Canadian government negotiating team for the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America initiative.

In November 2008 she co-authored a strategic border management report entitled: A New Bridge for Old Allies — a collaborative work with former Canadian Ambassador Michael Kergin on behalf of the Canadian International Council. In addition, she pens a monthly column for CME's 2020 magazine and is a frequent "on background" analyst for media interviews on border management and competitiveness issues, appearing on live media including C-SPAN's Washington Journal and the CBC.

She also has "on the ground" experience at the border. Born in Germany, Matthiesen was raised in a small town south of Montreal, and her career began as a Canada Customs inspector on the border between Vermont and Quebec. She is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University, both of Montreal and received her Masters Degree at Virginia’s George Mason University in International Trade Policy.

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Mark Meer
Mark Meer.
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Mark Meer
Rapid Fire Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta

Mark Meer is an actor and improvisor with Rapid Fire Theatre,External link a founding member of the comedy troupe Gordon's Big Bald Head, and a core company member of the live improvised soap opera, Die-Nasty, which won a Canadian Comedy Award. He has also worked extensively with The Atomic Improv Company,External link Teatro La Quindicina, and Shadow Theatre. He is the recipient of the 2006 Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award for Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actor, and was also nominated for a Sterling Award in 2005 for co-writing the surreal sketch comedy Lobster Telephone. Mark also has much experience in the realm of voice work. He was a writer and performer on CBC Radio's hit sketch comedy program The Irrelevant Show, served as the station identification and promotion voice of the Family Channel for most of 2006, and has worked on several games from Edmonton's Bioware Corp., including Baldur's Gate 2.5, Jade Empire, and Neverwinter Knights: Hordes of the Underdark. In Bioware's current release, Mass Effect, he takes a starring role as the voice of the male version of player character Commander Shepard.

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Laurie Ricou
Laurie Ricou.
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Laurie Ricou
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia

Abstract: "Border Songs of Cascadia: Rain, Rivering, and Raven in the Pacific Northwest." In Jim Lynch's 2009 novel Bordersongs, the most successful member of the border patrol on the British Columbia/Washington State border is a dyslexic birder. For him, the political boundary is mostly meaningless, but the mystery of birds and the messages in their songs is compelling. He is, we might say, the ultimate Cascadian. My talk begins by pondering the identifying features of the imaginary state of Cascadia, a cultural region where mountains and rain make rapidly falling waters iconic: utopianism, distrust of institutional religion, passion for environmental stewardship, affection for kookiness. I recount how Lynch's novel absorbs these features, and the typical differentiations of Canada and the United States, and burlesques them hilariously. Turning to several other memorable Northwest writers from both countries, we listen to the singing of borders that are determined not by legal fiat, but by where birds nest and fly, borders defined by rainfall and watershed, by the history and contemporary force of the great trickster Raven.

Biography: Dr. Laurie Ricou is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of British Columbia and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He was born in Brandon, Manitoba. He earned his B.A. at the University of Manitoba, and his MA and PhD degrees at the University of Toronto. He began his teaching career at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, where he became a specialist on Canadian Prairie regionalism and prairie writing. In 1978, he moved to Vancouver to join UBC's Department of English and shifted his focus to the literature and culture of the Pacific Northwest. His two most recent books exploring the intersections of literature and environmental studies in the Pacific Northwest are The Arbutus/Madrone Files: Reading the Pacific Northwest (2002) and Salal: Listening for the Northwest Understory (2007). He is currently working on a collaborative study of invader species in the region, provisionally titled "Romancing the Alien."

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Patrick Robson
Patrick J. Robson.
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Patrick J. Robson
Commissioner, Integrated Community Planning Regional Municipality of Niagara

PatricK J. Robson holds a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Urban and Regional Planning from Ryerson and a Master of Arts in Politics from Brock University. He completed the Municipal Clerk's and Treasurer's program at Niagara College, and is a Certified Municipal Manager III through the Ontario Municipal Management Institute. His professional life has included private sector planning consultant work. He served as a community planner with the Niagara Escarpment Commission, an investigator with the Ontario Human Rights Commission, and several progressive positions at the Region. Also, he served three terms as an Alderman in Wainfleet, Ontario. Patrick also teaches Public Policy at Brock University.

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Nora Foster Stovel
Nora Foster Stovel.
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Nora Foster Stovel
University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta

Abstract: "'American or Canadian': Carol Shields's Border Crossing." Carol Shields, one of Canada's and America's most popular and critically acclaimed writers, is the perfect example of the previous permeability of the Canada-US border. Not only did Shields enjoy dual Canadian and American citizenship, but she is the only writer ever to have won both the Pulitzer Prize in the US and the Governor General's Award in Canada, and for the same book: The Stone Diaries (1993). Between her immigration to Canada in 1957 and her death in 2003, Shields moved between Canada and America with ease in both her life and fiction. Carol Shields transcends national boundaries, straddling the 49th parallel like a Colossus. A resident of each country, Shields critiques both — "American or Canadian" people and "Can. Lit. Am. Lit.," as she puts it. She satirizes Americans' ignorance of Canada. "It's as though a huge eraser has come down from the heavens and wiped out the top of the continent," she writes in The Stone Diaries. She burlesques such American ignorance about Canada in several novels.

Biography: Dr. Nora Foster Stovel is Professor of English at the University of Alberta, where she teaches twentieth-century literature in general, and recent Canadian women's fiction in particular. She has the BA, MA, and PhD from McGill, Cambridge and Dalhousie Universities, respectively. She has published books and articles on twentieth-century writers — specifically D.H. Lawrence, Margaret Drabble, Carol Shields and Margaret Laurence — as well as essays on Jane Austen. She has edited four books by Margaret Laurence and recently published Divining Margaret Laurence: A Study of Her Complete Writings (2008), completed with the assistance of a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRCC) grant and a University of Alberta McCalla Research Professorship. She has been awarded a SSHRC grant to pursue her new study, "Sparkling Subversion": Carol Shields's Vision and Voice. She edited Jane Austen Sings the Blues (2009), in honour of Bruce Stovel, and is editing Jane Austen and Company: Essays by Bruce Stovel (2011). She is also planning Women With Wings: The Romantic Ballerina.

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Michael Taft
Michael Taft.
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Michael Taft
American Folklife Center

Biography: Michael Taft is head of the archive of the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress. He holds a PhD in Folklore from Memorial University of Newfoundland and an MLIS from the University of Alberta. While he has spent the last fifteen years as an ethnographic archivist, with previous positions as curator of the Southern Folklife Collection at the University of North Carolina and archivist at the Vermont Folklife Center, he spent twenty-five years as a folklore professor, fieldworker and researcher. Among his work on occupational traditions, he studied professional musicians in Newfoundland, dance teachers in Saskatchewan, movie theater employees in Saskatoon, university professors at the University of Saskatchewan, librarians in Edmonton, and archaeologists in Nova Scotia.

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Reaghan Tarbell
Reaghan Tarbell.
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Reaghan Tarbell
Documentary Filmmaker, Brooklyn, NY

Biography: Reaghan Tarbell is a documentary filmmaker who comes from the Kahnawake (Mohawk) reserve just outside Montreal. Her first documentary, To Brooklyn and Back, about the Mohawk neighborhood of Little Caughnawaga in Brooklyn, N.Y., has screened widely at festivals, winning Best Feature Documentary at the 2008 Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival. In 2006, Tarbell was selected to participate in Tribeca All Access, a program of the Tribeca Film Institute through which film industry executives meet with independent filmmakers. Tarbell recently directed a documentary on the Sami language for Mushkeg Media's ongoing series on indigenous languages, Finding Our Talk, now in its third season on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. Tarbell is on the staff of the Film and Video Center of the National Museum of the American Indian. She lives in Brooklyn, not far from Little Caughnawaga.

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David Taylor
David Taylor.
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David A. Taylor
American Foklife Center

Biography: David A. Taylor is the Head of Research and Programs at the American Folklife Center.  His work includes planning and carrying out research projects and public programs concerned with American, ethnic, regional, and occupational cultures; providing technical and reference assistance to cultural institutions and individual researchers; and leading the Center’s research and programs unit  He also serves as the head of acquisitions for the Center's archive, the nation's first archive devoted to traditional life, one of the largest repositories of its kind in the world.  He is the founder and director of the Center's annual field school for cultural documentation, which was launched in 1994.  He has directed a number of team-based, multi-disciplinary, field-documentation projects for the Center, including the Italian-Americans in the West Project (1989-1992), the Maine Acadian Cultural Survey (1991), and the Working in Paterson Project (1994).  He has served as a member of the United States delegation to the World Intellectual Property Organization's intergovernmental committee on folklore, traditional knowledge and genetic resources. His areas of specialization include field research methodology, material culture, maritime culture, and occupational culture.


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Randy Widdis
Randy Widdis.
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Randy Widdis
University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan

Abstract: "Looking Through the Mirror: Historical Geographical Reflections On Our Common Border." This presentation offers some reflections on Canadian-American relations based on a lifetime of experience "walking the line," and an academic career devoted largely to the study of the evolution of the border and borderlands shared by both countries. Canada's collective biography since 1784 has had one consistent theme addressed in each of its chapters, and that is its relationship with the United States. The country has been profoundly affected by this connection, and any attempt to understand the development of Canada and its constituent regions must recognize this factor. To a lesser, but certainly not insignificant, degree, the same may be said for the United States. A brief overview of the changing nature of interactions between Canada and the United States using a borderlands approach is offered that is intended to produce a more nuanced understanding of the history of Canadian-American relations. It concludes by arguing that those who deliberate on the future public policy implications of political, economic and security developments currently affecting the Canada-United States border and, consequently, Canadian-American relations, need to situate these issues and relations in historical and geographical context in order to gain necessary perspective and avoid making statements and policies that promote resentful cultural divisions.

Biography: Dr. Randy William Widdis, a professor of historical-cultural geography from the University of Regina, has three published books to his credit, including: With Scarcely A Ripple: Anglo-Canadian Migration into the United States and Western Canada, 1880-1920 (1998); Permeable Border: The Great Lakes Basin as Transnational Region, 1650-1990, co-authored with John Bukowczyk, Nora Faires and David Smith (2005); and Voices From Next Year Country: An Oral History of Rural Saskatchewan (2006). Permeable Border: The Great Lakes Basin as Transnational Region, 1650-1990, was awarded the 2006 Albert B. Corey Prize, bestowed biennially by the American Historical Association and the Canadian Historical Association for "the best book on Canadian-American relations or on the history of both countries," and the 2008 Association of Borderland Studies Nomination Award. With Scarcely A Ripple: Anglo-Canadian Migration into the United States and Western Canada, 1880-1920 was nominated in 1999 for both the Sir John A. Macdonald Prize by the Canadian Historical Association and the Sharlin Award by the Social Science Historical Association.

Professor Widdis has just been awarded the 2011 Visiting Scholar Fellowship at the School of Canadian Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa. He also holds a number of other awards and fellowships including: the Prairie Division of the Canadian Association of Geographers John Warkentin Award for Scholarly Contribution to the Western Interior (2004); an appointment as Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society (elected 1998); an appointment as Associate Fellow of the Center for Great Plains Studies (elected 1997); a Fulbright Fellowship (1994); and the Paul S. Kerr Award for the best article appearing in New York History (1987).

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Stephen Winick
Stephen Winick, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
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Stephen Winick
American Folklife Center

Biography: Stephen Winick is the writer and editor for the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.  He has a master's degree and a PhD in folklore and folklife from the University of Pennsylvania.  He has taught folklore courses at the University of Pennsylvania and George Mason University, and has published widely on folklore and folk music in both academic and popular publications. His academic publications include articles on British folksongs and ballads, American proverbs, and medieval English literature.  He is the editor, with Kimberly Lau and Peter Tokofsky, of "What Goes Around Comes Around": The Circulation of Proverbs in Everyday Life.  He has also been a music journalist for many years, covering folk and traditional music and song of Britain, Ireland, Europe and North America, for such publications as Dirty Linen magazine and The All Music Guide.

 

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