Studies in Local Popular Culture
Paper 408 pp.
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Covering Niagara: Studies in Local Popular Culture closely examines some of the myriad forms of popular culture in the Niagara region of Canada. Essays consider common assumptions and definitions of what popular culture is and seek to determine whether broad theories of popular culture can explain or make sense of localized instances of popular culture and the cultural experiences of people in their daily lives.
Among the many topics covered are local bicycle parades and war memorials, cooking and wine culture, radio and movie-going, music stores and music scenes, tourist sites, and blackface minstrel shows. The authors approach their subjects from a variety of critical and historical perspectives and employ a range of methodologies that includes cultural studies, textual analysis, archival research, and participant interviews. Altogether, Covering Niagara provides a richly diverse mapping of the popular culture of a particular area of Canada and demonstrates the complexities of everyday culture.
Joan Nicks is an adjunct professor in the Department of Communication, Popular Culture and Film at Brock University. She is co-editor with Jeannette Sloniowski of Slippery Pastimes: Reading the Popular in Canadian Culture (WLU Press, 2002). Her writing on film and popular culture has appeared in Candid Eyes: Essays on Canadian Documentaries (2003), Gendering the Nation: Canadian Women’s Cinema (1999), Documenting the Documentary: Close Readings of Documentary Film and Video (1998), and various journals.
Barry Keith Grant is a professor of film studies and popular culture at Brock University. He is the author or editor of twenty books, including 100 Documentary Films (with Jim Hillier, 2009), Auteurs and Authorship: A Film Reader (2007), Film Genre: Film Iconography to Ideology (2007), Film Genre Reader (2003) and The Dread of Difference: Gender and the Horror Film (1996), and his work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. He edits the Contemporary Approaches to Film and Television series for Wayne State University Press and the New Approaches to Film Genre series for Wiley Blackwell.
“Covering Niagara, an original study of local popular culture in the Golden Horseshoe area, uses a variety of critical and historical perspectives and a wide range of methodologies, including cultural studies, textual analysis, archival research, and participant interviews, to map out this borderlands green belt / fruit belt / rust belt that also calls itself home to a World Biosphere site (the Escarpment), a natural wonder (Niagara Falls), and a tourist mecca (Clifton Hill). The collection as a whole contains fifteen chapters, divided into five broad sections.”
— Linda Revie, University of Toronto Quarterly
“Covering Niagara will finally bust loose a secret that’s been all too well concealed from all too many people: because of its unique geographical position, as a kind of radar dish picking up influences from all compass points, both sides of the border and the myriad backgrounds of the millions who have settled there, it’s a pop cultural torrent.”
— Geoff Pevere, broadcaster, author, critic, and former Niagara resident
“Covering Niagara is an original contribution, not only to our understanding of this particular Canadian ‘region’ but to regional cultural studies in Canada generally. It clearly grows out of ongoing, collaborative research activity involving many of the contributors and, as such, it shows what sustained, regionally focused research can do.”
— William Straw, professor of Communications at McGill University and co-editor of Circulation and the City: Essays on Urban Culture (2010).