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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Arts
April 26, 2015
Canadian Excellence
Húsafell, Iceland, 2006

Dr. Anne Brydon

Associate Professor

Contact Information
Phone: 519-884-0710 ext.3529#

Office Location: DAWB 4-147
Office Hours: Winter term, Thursdays 1:30-3:00 or by appt.
Academic Background

PhD in Anthropology, McGill University 1992
MA in Anthropology, McMaster University 1987
BA Honours in Music, University of Western Ontario 1980

I engage in critical interpretive cultural analysis, with a focus on the cultural, political, and environmental legacies of modernity in Iceland and Canada. I trace these legacies by means of an interdisciplinary engagement with the dynamics of power and representation; with artistic re-imagining of changing social relations with nature, science, and technology; and with literary, auditory, and visual environmental criticism. I continue to conduct multi-sited ethnographic and virtual fieldwork, in Iceland, Canada, and western Europe.

Since 1988, I have researched the cultural politics of environmental issues in Iceland. I first studied the nationalist framing of debates about whale hunting sparked by international protests against Iceland’s whaling industry. More recently, I have focused on the Icelandic environmental movement that arose to protest hydroelectric development in the highland wilderness at Kárahnjúkar. In other work, I co-edited with Sandra Niessen Consuming Fashion: Adorning the Transnational Body (Berg 1998). I have also written catalogue essays on several artists, including Eleanor Bond, Joan Perlman, William Eakin, Wanda Koop, and Louise Jonasson. In 2000 I curated At Last Sight, an exhibit (with catalogue) of photographic work by Arni Haraldsson, held at Museum London (Canada) and the Winnipeg Art Gallery of Manitoba.

Some of my publications may be viewed or downloaded via Scholars Commons @ Laurier and


Selected Publications

2014 Water and Tower Allegory. In Patrick Mahon: Water Structures. Hamilton, Waterloo and Winnipeg: McMaster Museum of Art, Robert Langen Gallery and Gallery 1C03.

2012 Generations in Iceland. In Generation X Goes Global: Mapping A Youth Culture in Motion. Christine Henseler, editor. Routledge.

2010 Sentience. In Conversations with Landscape, edited by Katrín Anna Lund and Karl Benediktsson, Afterword by Tim Ingold, Farnham, UK: Ashgate.

2010 Mourning Mothers and Seeing Siblings: Feminism and Place in The Juniper Tree. (2nd author, with Pauline Greenhill) In Fairy Tale Film and Cinematic Folklore: Fantastic Voyages, Monstrous Dreams, and Wonderful Visions. Pauline Greenhill and Sidney Eve Matrix, editors. Utah State University Press.

2009 Fashion. in Women's Folklore and Folklife: An Encyclopedia of Beliefs, Customs, Tales, Music, and Art, eds. E. Locke and Vaughan. (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO). vol. 1.

2007 And Earth of Water: The Art of Joan Perlman/Og Jörđin af Vatni: Listsköpun Joan Perlman (catalogue essay for Element: The Art of Joan Perlman, Hafnarborg). Icelandic translation by Steinunn Einarsdóttir, Jón Proppé and Hörđur Zophaniasson. Hafnarborg.

2006 The Predicament of Nature: Keiko the Whale and The Cultural Politics of Whaling in Iceland. Anthropological Quarterly 79(2): 225-260.

2001 Mótmćlt, Náttúra, og Módernisma (Protest, Nature and Modernism). Brynhildur Björnsdóttir and Ţórunn Sigurđardóttir, translators. Tímarit Máls og Menningar (Journal of Language and Culture) 2(62): 45-49.

2001 Dreams and Claims: Icelandic-Saulteaux Interactions in the Manitoba Interlake. Journal of Canadian Studies 36(2): 164-190. (reprinted in Icelandic-Canadian Magazine 58(3): 105-124).

1998 Anne Brydon (1st editor) and Sandra Niessen (2nd editor), eds. Consuming Fashion: Adorning the Transnational Body. Providence and Oxford: Berg Publishers.

1998 Sensible Shoes. In Consuming Fashion: Adorning the Transnational Body. Anne Brydon and Sandra Niessen, eds. Providence and Oxford: Berg Publishers.

1998 Introduction (with S. Niessen). In Consuming Fashion: Adorning the Transnational Body. Anne Brydon and Sandra Niessen, eds. Providence and Oxford: Berg Publishers.

Additional Information
Teaching schedule for 2014-15

Fall term 2014

EN220 Reading Culture     Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:30 pm - 3:50 pm

    An extension of the practices involved in reading written texts, literary and non-literary, to the interpretation of other cultural forms, (for example, film, graphics, TV programming). There will be some attention to theories that offer a general model for how meaning is constructed and exchanged.
    Humans are meaning-building creatures. People's ordinary thoughts and actions are deeply enmeshed in processes of "reading" cultural "texts", practices, and ideas. These processes have particular locations in space (societies, communities, networks) and time (histories, projected futures). This is the world of everyday life into which all are born and often assume to be straightforward, natural, and "real." Yet social reality is, in fact, a complex production continually responding to and shaping human creativity and action, and typically mediated by language and speech.
    In this course, we will explore a range of approaches to the analysis of the cultural forms and practices comprising everyday life in Canada and North America. We will examine the ways in which people make sense in and of their world, as well as how dominant ideologies shape and edit that world. To this end, we will examine the stuff people use, eat, inhabit and wear in terms of commodification, consumption, memory and the senses, aesthetics, materiality, and the performance of identities and aspirations.  

NO309f Aboriginal Representations in Contemporary Canada     Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:30 am - 12:50 pm

    This course investigates contemporary Indigenous cultural productions in visual arts, music, literature, broadcast media, and film to explore how artists and cultural workers negotiate the complex and contradictory relationships between Indigenous and Euro-Canadian traditions of representation, performance, and storytelling.
    The initial inspiration for this course came from the Idle No More protest movement that began across Canada on 10 December 2012 to mark International Human Rights Day. Idle No More calls for fundamental changes in Canada's relations with Indigenous Peoples, with particular attention to longstanding Indigenous demands for justice around land rights, economic resources, and self-determination.
    The course begins with critical examination of the continuing history of negative stereotypical representations of Natives by non-Natives. It then continues with investigation of how Indigenous visual artists, writers, film directors, journalists, and musicians choose to represent and perform themselves, their cultures and histories; how they respond to their stereotypical representation by non-natives; how they resist colonialism and heal their communities through their creativity; and how they assert their claims for social justice. (Note that while dance is an important genre of Indigenous expressive culture, it is regrettably not covered in this course.)

Winter term 2015

HI299b History of Modern Art     Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 12:30 pm - 1:20 pm

    This course surveys avant-garde modern art, primarily of Europe and the United States, from the mid-19th century until the early 1970s. Trends in painting, sculpture, photography, design, and architecture are studied in relation to the social conditions of modernity, that post-feudal period associated with the rise of capitalism and related social and political relations. This study will reveal how modernism's credo of newness and originality was driven by a faith in progress similar to that which freed the forces of industrialization, democratization, urbanization, commodity capitalism, mass communication, individualism, and other institutional clusters of modernity.
    You will learn to analyze the period's major artistic movements -- Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, Cubism, Futurism, Dada, Constructivism, Social Realism, Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, Conceptual Art, and Minimalism -- in formal (i.e., line, shape and form, space, colour, texture) and contextual terms. You will become aware of why modernism achieved such greatness and why key modernist values have fallen into disrepute. You will also learn how to pay critical attention to modern art's exclusion of women and minority artists, its eurocentrism, and its colonialist legacies.

MU310/HI389 Music, Sound and Environment     Mondays and Wednesdays 2:30 pm - 3:50 pm

    An exploration of music and sound in relation to natural and human environments and environmental issues. Students will gain insight into the historical and contemporary ways music engages and defines nature, and develop an analytical approach to understanding and managing sonic environments. Topics may include: the pastoral; place-based music; music and environmental activism; preservation of soundscapes; noise pollution; sounds of transformation/devastation.
    Music relates to different types of environmental transformation -- social, economic, political, cultural or technological -- while environmental changes can be heard in music and soundscapes. Ecomusicology, or ecocritical musicology, is a newly emerging field of multi- and interdisciplinary research that brings together studies in music, acoustics, soundscapes, history, ecology, environment, urbanism, architecture, literature, art, and more. It draws on a subfield of literary studies known as "ecocriticism": eco, from the Greek root oikos meaning hearth or home, and criticism, the 17th-century term denoting detailed, discerning examination and knowledgeable judgement. It argues that the ethical, spiritual, cultural, and artistic dimensions of human-non-human relations need to be considered side-by-side the applied, practical work of the natural and social sciences.