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In-Between – Liminal Spaces in Canadian Literature and Cultures

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Edited By Stefan L. Brandt

In the past few years, the concept of «liminality» has become a kind of pet theme within the discipline of Cultural Studies, lending itself to phenomena of transgression and systemic demarcation. This anthology employs theories of liminality to discuss Canada’s geographic and symbolic boundaries, taking its point of departure from the observation that «Canada» itself, as a cultural, political, and geographic entity, encapsulates elements of the «liminal.» The essays comprised in this volume deal with fragmented and contradictory practices in Canada, real and imagined borders, as well as contact zones, thresholds, and transitions in Anglo-Canadian and French-Canadian texts, discussing topics such as the U.S./Canadian border, migration, French-English relations, and encounters between First Nations and settlers.

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‘Exclaveness’ and Liminality: Materialities and Rhetorics of Place at the Canadian Border (Peter Goggin)

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Peter Goggin

‘Exclaveness’ and Liminality: Materialities and Rhetorics of Place at the Canadian Border

Place is distinguished from space by being socially constructed and local rather than quantitatively described and universal […]. In other words, people make places out of space […].

Steven Semken, “Sense of Place” (2005), 149.

Abstract: This essay deals with liminality and identity at the confluence of physical geography and the geopolitical boundary between Canada and the United States in the pene-exclave of Point Roberts. Field observations in Point Roberts and at the international border crossings reveal complex dynamics between identity and place as a way of world-making in the local community that complicates a simple division between global and local and between ideals of place and space.

Introduction

This essay is about liminality of place and place-based rhetorics in the pene-exclave of Point Roberts. It is a place that most people in both Canada and the United States are likely unaware of and probably have never visited—unless they happen to live in Point Roberts or fairly close to the international boundary between Canada and the United States on the far west coast. Point Roberts, often referred to as a ‘geographical oddity’ is located south of the Vancouver suburb of Tsawwassen. It is not actually in Canada—though some have argued that it should be.1 It is part of the United States, officially, though some have argued that it should not...

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