Duke University Press (Dec 2009)
Cover Art: Joy Garnett
Image: Strange Weather 1 (2005), oil on canvas. Courtesy of Winkleman Gallery, NY. [Link]
See more book covers here.
368 pages (December 2009)
For nearly two decades, Jody Berland has been a leading voice in cultural studies and the field of communications. In North of Empire, she brings together and reflects on ten of her pioneering essays. Demonstrating the importance of space to understanding culture, Berland investigates how media technologies have shaped locality, territory, landscape, boundary, nature, music, and time. Her analysis begins with the media landscape of Canada, a country that offers a unique perspective for apprehending the power of media technologies to shape subjectivities and everyday lives, and to render territorial borders both more and less meaningful. Canada is a settler nation and world power often dwarfed by the U.S. cultural juggernaut. It possesses a voluminous archive of inquiry on culture, politics, and the technologies of space. Berland revisits this tradition in the context of a rich interdisciplinary study of contemporary media culture.
Berland explores how understandings of space and time, empire and margin, embodiment and technology, and nature and culture are shaped by communications technologies including pianos, radio, television, the Web, and satellite imaging. Along the way, she provides a useful overview of the assumptions driving communications research on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border, and she highlights the distinctive contributions of the Canadian communication theorists Harold Innis and Marshall McLuhan. Berland argues that electronic mediation is central to the construction of social space and therefore to anti-imperialist critique. She illuminates crucial links between how space is traversed, how it is narrated, and how it is used. Making an important contribution to scholarship on globalization, Berland calls for more sophisticated accounts of media and cultural technologies and their complex “geographies of influence.”
“Since its inception, cultural studies has gained a great deal from Canadian writers, in part because of the particular perch they occupy over the behemoth below them. Jody Berland has been one of those distinguished authors. North of Empire is a grand statement of her theoretical and political positions and a wonderful reservoir drawn from her rich research. It will be a landmark.”—Toby Miller, author of Makeover Nation: The United States of Reinvention
“This is a major work by one of the most original and influential thinkers working on the intersection of communication with cultural studies in the world today. Jody Berland is a writer of intense clarity and beautiful style, with an astonishing capacity to move fluidly between aesthetic, social, political, historical, and technical frames of thought. North of Empire shows us how to think profoundly, again, about space and why it matters.”—Meaghan Morris, Lingnan University (Hong Kong) and University of Sydney (Australia)
Jody Berland is Associate Professor of Humanities at York University and the editor of TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies.