Communication Makes the Nation: The Legacy of the Toronto School



Communication Makes the Nation: The Legacy of the Toronto School

Round table at the Canadian Communication Association (CCA) Annual Conference
2017 May 30 – June 2, 2017, Ryerson University, Toronto

PAOLO GRANATA (chair), University of Bologna, Visiting Professor University of Toronto
SETH FELDMAN, York University
ELENA LAMBERTI, University of Bologna
WILLIAM BUXTON, Concordia University

Canada’s Sesquicentennial occurs at a symbolic apex (and perhaps closing) of an era in which communications technologies have been playing an indisputable role in the nation-building processes, as well as in the development of a national identity. In a large country such as Canada, communication infrastructures turned a geographical space into a social space. Canada’s uniqueness came into being through the space-binding effect of its communications system; consistently, like any other modern nation- states, Canada has developed also as a product of technologically mediated communications.

In continuity with the ground-breaking work initiated by the intellectual giants of the Toronto School, this roundtable aims to investigate the role played by the communication processes in shaping the pan- Canadian nationhood, as well as in structuring Canadian cultural, social, political, educational, literary and artistic choices and paths. An overview of the literature produced by Innis, Frye, and McLuhan, as well as a reassessment of the assumption that communication technologies are fundamental to the structuring of power in social and cultural life, will foster a critical discussion and understanding of the Canadian intellectual heritage engaged in the question of what is it that makes a nation.

The panel will be open to the audience discussion of the proposed trans-disciplinary research paths, in order to address the new cultural, social, and educational challenges that Canada has to face nowadays when balancing its multicultural identity with a complex, if not alarming, international scenario.

The CCA annual conference is normally held during the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences Congress, a gathering of scholarly associations from across the country.