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University of Chicago Press
Continental Divides: Remapping the Cultures of North America

Continental Divides: Remapping the Cultures of North America

by Rachel AdamsRachel Adams
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North America is more a political and an economic invention than a place people call home. Nonetheless, the region shared by the United States and its closest neighbors, North America, is an intriguing frame for comparative American studies. Continental Divides is the first book to study the patterns of contact, exchange, conflict, and disavowal among  cultures that span the borders of Canada, the United States, and Mexico. 

Rachel Adams considers a broad range of literary, filmic, and visual texts that exemplify cultural traffic across North American borders. She investigates how our understanding of key themes, genres, and periods within U.S. cultural study is deepened, and in some cases transformed, when Canada and Mexico enter the picture. How, for example, does the work of the iconic American writer Jack Kerouac read differently when his Franco-American origins and Mexican travels are taken into account? Or how would our conception of American modernism be altered if Mexico were positioned as a center of artistic and political activity? In this engaging analysis, Adams charts the lengthy and often unrecognized traditions of neighborly exchange, both hostile and amicable, that have left an imprint on North America’s varied cultures.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780226005522
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 11/01/2009
Edition description: 1
Pages: 328
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Rachel Adams is associate professor of English at Columbia University and is the author of Sideshow U.S.A.: Freaks and the American Cultural Imagination, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations


INTRODUCTION / Imagining North America
ONE / Before the Border: Indigenous Geographies of North America

TWO / Fugitive Geographies: Rerouting the Stories of North American Slavery

THREE / Women of the South Bank: The Mexican Routes of American Modernism

FOUR / Jack Kerouac’s North America

FIVE / Continental Ops: Crossing Borders in North American Crime Narrative

SIX / The Northern Borderlands and Latino/a Canadian Diaspora
EPILOGUE / The Nafta Superhighway and the Limits of North American Community




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