The Harpers ride the Merry-Go-Round

Last week’s Canadian Studies conference in Marburg was an interesting affair. Since I was the only Canadian Canadianist present, I was often asked to offer “the” Canadian perspective. I of course obliged, since I love speaking for 34 million people. By the end of the conference I had begun thinking of myself, rather affectionately, as “Canada.” “Canada is hungry!” I would exclaim. “Canada thinks your presentation was wonderful! Bravo.” Or, by the last day: “Canada felt that that your flippant reference to Aboriginal people problematically negated their epistemologies while also normalizing white superiority.”

Luckily all of this was only going on in my head, an academic conference being a place to eat catered food, schmooze, use multisyllabic words, and tell people how interesting their esoteric research topics are.

This particular conference was also a great place to hook up, since the conference organizers, who paid for the accommodation, tried to make all presenters share hotel beds (not just rooms, actual beds). As “Canada” I claimed national sovereignty and refused.

One particularly memorable moment was when I got to speak with someone who promotes Canadian culture in Germany. She told me about meeting Laureen Harper a few years before in Berlin. She introduced herself and mentioned her work promoting culture, to which Laureen answered, “so like circuses and stuff?”

A few things I learned at the conference, notable either for their beauty or hilarity:

“Vancouver is Canada’s westernmost city.”

“The proposed downtown highway caused Vancouverites to be very outrageous.” (outraged?)

“Only God knows where the desert ends.”

“Bubble tea is code for Bomb Toronto.” (that sentence should get my blog lots of extra traffic)

“There is no nation in being good.”

All in all I was pretty blown away that these German grad students knew so much about Canadian culture – a testament, surely, to the time they’ve all spent at the circus.

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2 Responses

  1. I don´t know what ‘Canada’ thought during the election …

  2. Bwahahahahaha. I love you.

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