Book cover image for: Challenging Frontiers: The Canadian West

Challenging Frontiers: The Canadian West

Edited by Lorry Felske and Beverly J. Rasporich

$44.95 CAD / $44.95 USD (S)

382 pages, 58 illustrations

6 x 9 inches

978-1-55238-140-3 (Paperback)

978-1-55238-307-0 (Institutional PDF)

February 2005

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About the Book

What is the West? Through critical essays and creative writing, this collection explores the ways the Canadian West has been conceived and created as a cultural place and what it means to be a westerner today.

The frontier reality of confronting new conditions, adapting cultural inclinations, and dealing with a volatile environment in an effort to establish and nurture new communities is central to the western Canadian experience. It has shaped many aspects of our heritage, and it is within that context the essays assembled here strive to identify and critique the impact of the frontier on our region, culture, and society.

Challenging Frontiers: The Canadian West is a multidisciplinary study using critical essays as well as creative writing to explore the conceptions of the “West,” both past and present. Considering topics such as ranching, immigration, art and architecture, as well as globalization and the spread of technology, these articles inform the reader of the historical frontier and its mythology, while also challenging and reassessing conventional analysis.

With a comprehensive introduction to situate the geographic and cultural boundaries of the western frontier, this collection is a must for anyone interested in uncovering what it means to be a westerner and how the new frontier has influenced every part of our society.

About the Editors:

Lorry Felske is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication and Culture at the University of Calgary. He has written numerous articles and acts as an historical consultant to many different groups and societies.

Beverly Rasporich has written many articles on Canadian arts and culture, Native art and literature, Canadian humour, ethnicity, and multiculturalism. She is author of Dance of the Sexes: Art and Gender in the Fiction of Alice Munro and Magic Off Main: The Art of Esther Warkov.

With Contributions By:  Sarah Carter, Ann Davis, Janice Dickin, Marcia Jenneth Epstein, Lorry W. Felske, Max Foran, R. Douglas Francis, Madeline A. Kalbach, Emma LaRocque, Michael McMordie, Beverly Rasporich, Brian Rusted, Lloyd Sciban, Robert Seiler, Tamara Seiler, David Taras, and Aritha van Herk 

Praise for Challenging Frontiers:

Challenging Frontiers lives up to its title in challenging the monochromatic definition of “frontier” that has played across most of western North American “frontier theory.” 

—Francis W. Kaye, Canadian Ethnic Studies

What makes this collection fresh is its emphasis on connections between past and present communities in the Canadian West.   

—Molly P. Rozum, Great Plains Quarterly  

Table of Contents


Introduction: Challenging Frontiers

Lorry W. Felske and Beverly Rasporich

Images of the West

Naming the West

Shooting a Saskatoon (Whatever Happened to the Marolboro Man?)

Aritha van Herk

Early Interpretation of Region

Regionalism, Landscape, and Identity in the Prairie West

R. Douglas Francis

Celebrating Magpies: Artists Paul Kane Hongeeyesa, and Emily Carr

Ann Davies

Challenging Western History and Frontier Myth–Making

Filling in Historical Absence

Two Months in Big Bear’s Camp, 1885: Narratives of "Indian Captivity" and the Articulation of "Race" and "Gender" Hierarchies in Western Canada

Sarah Carter

Roughing It in the West, or, Whose Frontier, Whose History?

Janice Dickin

Diversifying Our Past: Finding a Place for Coal Mining Communities in Alberta’s Historic Identity

Lorry W. Felske

De–Mythologizing Cowboys and Indians

When the "Wild West" is Me: Re–Viewing Cowboys and Indians

Emma LaRocque

Managing Contradictory Visions of the West: The Great Richardson/Weadick Experiment

Robert Seiler and Tamara Siler

Hank Snow and the Eastern Frontiers of Western Music

Brian Rusted

New Frontiers

The Deconstruction of Architecture and Western History

Standard Prairie Grain Elevators: A Disappearing Icon

Geoffrey Simmins

From Somewhere to Everywhere to Nowhere: The Bank of Montreal and a Case of Vanishing Identity

Michael McMordie

Forces of Change

Asian Immigration to Western Canada
Madeline A. Kalbach

Chinese–Language Media across the West

Lloyd Sciban

The Reform and Alliance Experiments: Federal Politics in Western Canad

David Taras

Constancy Amid Change: Ranching in Western Canada

Max Foran

Contemporary Artists: The New Mythmakers

North/Western Aurages: The Soundscapes of Allan Gordon Bell

Marcia Jenneth Epstein

Rodeos, Ranching, and the House of Tea: Irene McCaugherty and Esther Warkov Re–Invent the West

Beverly Rasporich