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RICHARD DELLAMORA John Greyson's Zero Patience in the Canadian Firmament: Cultural Practice/Cultural Studies 'Everything remains to be done' Robert ~epage In a special issue of UTQ dedicated to the topic of cultural studies in Canada, questions of Inethodology, discipline, and pedagogy will COlne to the fore. In the foHowing pages, I consider John Greyson's film Zero Patience as an exalnple of cultural practice rife with implications for cultural studies. I invoke this work, however, specifically as a counterexample to conventional representations of Canada in the nationallnedia - and not as a model for cultural studies, since to do so would be sinlply to subordinate one regimen of '1uastery' for another.' Rather than taking Zero Patience as either a metonym or a synecdoche of cultural studies, it would be better to consider cultural studies in relation to subcultural practices in tenns of what Jean-Franc;ois Lyotard refers to as the differend: 'As distinguished from a litigation, a differend [differel1d] would be a case of conflict, between (at least) two parties, that cannot be equitably resolved for lack of a rule of judglnent applicable to both arguments. One side's legitimacy does not imply the other's lack of legitimacy. However, applying a single rule of judglnent to both in order to settle their differend as though it were merely a litigation would wrong (at least) one of them (and both of them if neither side admits this rule), (xi). Were I to posit' a single axiOln, it would be that the relationship between lninority discourses and disciplinarity in cultural studies needs to be one of mutual supplementarity. The first question to consider is whether the material bases exist whereby cultural studies might become a discipline in Canada. In the United States and Great Britain, the apparatus of cultural studies, including modalities such as gay and lesbian studies, postcolonial studies, and the New Historicism, includes innovative theorists and senior practitioners ; leading graduate programs; junior hiring; publication of textbooks ; high-profile cultural studies' series, published by both academic and commercial presses; a sustaining marketplace for publication in the field; prestigious new journals; regularly scheduled major conferencesi numerous national research centres with multiple funding sources for jW1ior and senior faculty; a network of major research libraries; media UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTERLY, VOLUME 64, NUMBER 4, FALL 1995 JOHN CREYSON'S ZERO PATIENCE 527 coverage of personalities, positions, and debates within the discipline; and highly interactive relations between activist politics, subcultural and commercial,media, and academic settings. In Canada, these elements are lTIuch reduced; hence, the question arises as to whether the requisite minimUlTI of a discipline exists here. Though I do not want to prejudge the answer to this question, to negate the Canadian tradition in critical theory, or to underestimate the various efforts currently under way, a strategy is in order. The developlTIent of cultural studies at anglophone Canadian universities needs to be accOlnpanied at an early stage by focused efforts to develop material and human resources. Given the SYlllbiotic relationship between cultural studies , cultural institutions, and the media, deparhnents are most likely to flourish in the vicinity of the lnajor media centres of Montreal, Vancouver , and Toronto. Video, fihn, television, musical, and theatr~cal production, particularly 'in Toronto, exists on a scale that can provide career opportunities for graduates in cultural studies while generating sufficient capital to provide a long-term basis for building institutions. Cultural institutions such as museums and perfonTIing arts groups also need to be strengthened. These points are especially worth making at a time when higher education in Canada is an industry in decline a11d when governlnent agencies are lowering grants to the arts and to cultural institutioJ.ls. Cultural industries in Canada (and cultural studies) calU10t exist without a growing capital infrastructure. Secondly, it is not yet dear what the location of Cultural Studies in Canada Ineans. Does it mean simply applying lTIodels developed elsewhere to Canadian examples - as occurred when English departments began developing courses in anglophone Canadian literature in the 1970s? Twenty years later, a new canon exists, and undergraduates read less English and Alnerican literature, but critical approaches ~nd the trUe moralislns of conventional literary study remain much the same. At...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 526-535
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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