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Processes of Spatialization in the Americas

Configurations and Narratives

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Edited By Gabriele Pisarz-Ramirez and Hannes Warnecke-Berger

Where do the Americas begin, and where do they end? What is the relationship between the spatial constructions of «area» and «continent»? How were the Americas imagined by different actors in different historical periods, and how were these imaginations – as continent, nation, region – guided by changing agendas and priorities? This interdisciplinary volume addresses competing and conflicting configurations and narratives of spatialization in the context of globalization processes from the 19th century to the present.

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Americanization of Show Business? Shifting Territories of Theatrical Entertainment in North America at the Turn of the 20th Century

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Antje Dietze

Americanization of Show Business? Shifting Territories of Theatrical Entertainment in North America at the Turn of the 20th Century1

Abstract: In the period from the 1880s to the 1910s, Canada experienced a strong wave of Americanization of its theatrical institutions. Taking a closer look at these transnational theatrical relations, this chapter revisits the role of the Canadian connections in the process of drawing the boundaries of modern entertainment industries in North America. The first part argues that these developments do not fit in national frameworks or in the concept of Americanization as the transnational export of American cultural products. The consolidation of theatrical industries such as legitimate theater, vaudeville, and burlesque ran along regional lines that crossed national borders and covered parts of both the United States and Canada, including Montreal. Taking the example of large-scale business conflicts in the field of burlesque, the chapter then investigates how entrepreneurs in the city not only actively integrated their businesses into wider North American theater networks, but also challenged the dominance of US-Americans in the industry. These changing spatializations of theatrical entertainment did not only include the transcontinental expansion and subsequent drawing of new regional boundaries within the emerging industries. They also entailed new forms of organizing space, as the business evolved toward increasing centralization, rationalization, and exclusive territorial control.

1Introduction

“Canada is the only nation in the world whose stage is entirely controlled by aliens,” claimed the Montreal-based theater critic B....

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