Timing Canada: The Shifting Politics of Time in Canadian Literary Culture

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McGill-Queen's University Press, 2015 - National characteristics, Canadian, in literature - 368 pages
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From punch clocks to prison sentences, from immigration waiting periods to controversial time-zone boundaries, from Indigenous grave markers that count time in centuries rather than years, to the fact that free time is shrinking faster for women than for men - time shapes the fabric of Canadian society every day, but in ways that are not always visible or logical. In Timing Canada, Paul Huebener draws from cultural history, time-use surveys, political statements, literature, and visual art to craft a detailed understanding of how time operates as a form of power in Canada. Time enables everything we do - as Margaret Atwood writes, "without it we can't live." However, time also disempowers us, divides us, and escapes our control. Huebener transforms our understanding of temporal power and possibility by using examples from Canadian and Indigenous authors - including Jeannette Armstrong, Joseph Boyden, Dionne Brand, Timothy Findley, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Gabrielle Roy, and many others - who witness, question, dismantle, and reconstruct the functioning of time in their works. As the first comprehensive study of the cultural politics of time in Canada, Timing Canada develops foundational principles of critical time studies and everyday temporal literacy, and demonstrates how time functions broadly as a tool of power, privilege, and imagination within a multicultural and multi-temporal nation.

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About the author (2015)

Paul Huebener is assistant professor of English at Athabasca University.

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