June 4, 2010 (REVISED June 9, 2010) American Folklife Center Symposium Explores Culture Along Canada-U.S. Border

Press Contact: Erin Allen (202) 707-7302; Jo Rasi (202) 707-1733
Public Contact: Nancy Groce (202) 707-1744

The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress and the Embassy of Canada, together with the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Québec, present “Borderlines/Borderlands: Culture and the Canada-U.S. International Boundary” June 14-16 in Room 119 in the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C.

Symposium speakers will examine cultural expressions along the Canada-U.S. border. They will demonstrate that the lands adjacent to the border form a cultural region that is distinct from other areas of both countries. Participating scholars include the award-winning historian David Hackett Fischer (Brandeis University), who will deliver the keynote address, and cultural geographers Victor Konrad (Carleton University), Susan Hardwick (University of Oregon) and Randy Widdis (University of Regina). Border-inspired literature will be addressed by Laurie Ricou (University of British Columbia) and Nora Foster Stoval (University of Alberta). Architect Brian Carter (SUNY/Buffalo) will explore border architecture. The exchange of cultural traditions between eastern Canada and the United States will be examined by Beverly Diamond (Memorial University) and Laurier Turgeon (Université Laval).

Other elements of the symposium include Canadian journalist Henry Champ, who will lead a discussion on contemporary life along the international boundary, the mayor of Niagara Falls, New York, the commissioner of Niagara, Ontario, and a business association representative. Members of Rapid Fire, a famed Alberta improvisational comedy troupe, take a lighter approach to cross-border understanding with a performance of “Whose Border is it Anyway?: Using Improv to Explain Everything.”

The symposium’s opening event will be an evening film screening on Monday, June 14, at 7 p.m. of “To Brooklyn and Back,” a recent documentary about the Québec Mohawk community of Kahnawake, many members of which work in New York City as construction workers on skyscrapers, bridges and other “high steel” projects. Filmmaker Reaghan Tarbell will attend the screening, which will be held in the Mary Pickford Theater on the third floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave., S.E. A question and answer session with the filmmaker will follow.

“Borderlines/Borderlands” is free, but registration is recommended. For the complete schedule and to register online, visit www.loc.gov/folklife/Symposia/borders/index.html.

The American Folklife Center was created by Congress in 1976 and placed at the Library of Congress to “preserve and present American folklife” through programs of research, documentation, archival preservation, reference service, live performance, exhibition, public programs and training. For more information on the center, visit www.loc.gov/folklife/.

The Library of Congress, the nation's oldest federal cultural institution, is the world's preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled collections and integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Many of the Library’s rich resources and treasures may also be accessed through the Library’s website www.loc.gov and via interactive exhibitions on myLOC.gov.


PR 10-135
ISSN 0731-3527