Little Mosque on the Prairie and the Paradoxes of Cultural TranslationLittle Mosque on the Prairie and the Paradoxes of Cultural Translation (University of Toronto Press, 2017)

In 2007, Little Mosque on the Prairie premiered on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation network. It told the story of a mosque community that worshiped in the basement of an Anglican church. It was a bona fide hit, running for six seasons and playing on networks all over the world.

This book’s textual analysis and in-depth research, including interviews from the show’s creator, executive producers, writers, and CBC executives, reveals the many ways Muslims have and have not been integrated into North American television. Despite a desire to showcase the diversity of Muslims in Canada, the makers of Little Mosque had to erase visible signs of difference in order to reach a broad audience. This paradox of ‘saleable diversity’ challenges conventional ideas about the ways in which sitcoms integrate minorities into the mainstream.

Bakken Goes Boom
The Bakken Goes Boom: Oil and the Changing Geographies of Western North Dakota (co-edited with William Caraher, Digital Press at the University of North Dakota, 2015)

In 2008, the Bakken went boom. Thanks to advances in hydraulic fracturing, oil production in western North Dakota exploded. As the price of oil went up, so did the oil rigs. People came from all over the country (and the world) in search of work, and cities and towns struggled to keep up. This book is about the challenges they faced. It is about the human dimensions of the boom, as told by artists, poets, journalists, and scholars. It captures the boom at its peak, before the price of oil fell and the boom went bust.

This is the only book on the Bakken to bring together such a wide range of voices. It captures a fascinating moment in the history not only of North Dakota, but of global oil production. It sheds light on the impact of oil on local communities that, until now, had not attracted much interest from the outside world. And it shows how North Dakotans, both old and new, have found ways to address the challenges they face in a turbulent, changing environment.

Beyond the Border
Beyond the Border: Tensions Across the Forty-Ninth Parallel in the Great Plains and Prairies (co-edited with Timothy Pasch, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2013)

The idea that the American Great Plains and the Canadian Prairies are just “fly-over” country is a mistake. In the post-9/11 era, politicians and policy-makers are paying more attention to the region, especially where border enforcement is concerned. Beyond the Border provides interdisciplinary perspectives on the region’s increasing importance.

Drawing inspiration from Habermas’s observation that certain modern phenomena – from ecological degradation and organized crime to increased capital mobility – challenge a state’s ability to retain sovereignty over a fixed geographical region, contributors to this book question the ontological status of the Canada-US border. They look at how entertainment media represents the border for their viewers, how Canada and the US enforce the line that separates the two countries, and how the border appears from the viewpoint of Native communities where it was imposed through their traditional lands. Under this scrutiny, the border ceases to appear as self-evident, its status more fragile than otherwise imagined.

Everyone Says No
Everyone Says No: Paradoxes of Translation in Television News (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2011)

Quebec has never signed on to Canada’s constitution. After both major attempts to win Quebec’s approval – the Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords – failed, Quebec came within a fraction of a percentage point of voting for independence. Everyone Says No examines how the failure of these accords was depicted in French and English media and the ways in which journalists’ reporting failed to translate the differences between Quebec and the rest of Canada.

Focusing on the English- and French-language networks of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Everyone Says No draws on the CBC/Radio-Canada’s rich print and video archive as well as journalists’ accounts of their reporting to revisit the story of the accords and the furor they stirred in both French and English Canada. It shows that CBC/Radio-Canada’s attempts to translate language and culture and encourage understanding among Canadians actually confirmed viewers’ pre-existing assumptions rather than challenging them.