Week #7

In the video that Dawson narrates, “Golden Age of the Export Oligarchy,” he mentions that people living in periphery countries feel certain anxieties different from people living in the “center:” countries that are more modern. He explains how countries of the periphery are countries in which their people feel a sense that they are behind and not on the “cutting-edge.” He uses a more contemporary example by listing Mexico and Cuba as examples of peripheries to the United States, but also mentions Canada being a periphery as well. Growing up near the coast of California and now spending my second year in Vancouver, I do not completely feel this to be true. Maybe I have yet to spend enough time in Canada to feel this sense of anxiety, but I cannot seem to find this to be true as I can believe people of Mexico or Cuba do about their own countries. I come from a pretty modern and industrial city in Orange County, California located just south of Los Angeles, which may often be referred to as the mecca for many things. As I have lived in Vancouver, there has never been a time where I have not been able to find something I was in search of, let alone felt that Canadians were behind in any matter.

I actually feel a little bit of the opposite. I feel, instead, that Canadians would not appreciate being considered a periphery nation to the United States. I think that Canadians are aware that they depend on their southern neighbor for different things as well as export many things to the United States, but I do not think that they feel the sense of anxiety of being “left behind.” When I speak to the Canadian friends I have met through UBC, who range in coming from the east coast to the west coast, I have never once felt that they think I am more modern by any means or come from a more modern country. They seem as if they favor many of the things their country has rather than things the US has to offer, including their governmental system. I think that this sense of anxiety is more a feeling that may develop domestically within Canada as a country or even the United States.

Maybe if you are from a small town in Saskatchewan, you may feel this sense of not being on the “cutting-edge” because your town may not offer functional public transportation or an Apple store that a metropolitan city like Vancouver or Toronto does. I have an uncle who lives somewhere in Kentucky and whenever we speak on the phone, he always mentions this joke of how it takes Kentucky six years to receive all of the “latest” things. I don’t know the exact joke but it is something like that. He is partly kidding when he says it, but he is definitely implying something. To the United States, Kentucky and many more states and cities are the peripheral to places like Los Angeles or New York City. To many, like my uncle, it is a choice of his to live in the peripheral.

Now on to another part of this week’s homework. I found the invention and use of photographs in Latin America to be quite interesting. Photographs seemed to have had a huge influence on modernity in Latin America. Photographs had the ability to show things; they showed documented progress, which then showed modernity through artistic and scientific thought. I found the image of Mexican President, Benito Juarez to be quite interesting. He could use a photograph of himself to “erase” his indigenous past, which would be done and shown through his dress, manner, and profession as president.

4 thoughts on “Week #7

  1. Diane

    I agree with you, that Canada today is not seen to be less modern than the United States. Perhaps back then, when this was written, it was so, but I agree that this is not the case today. I think it’s quite interesting when you point out that today, instead of it being an entire nation being labelled as ‘on the periphery’, that it’s individual communities (and perhaps we can even say individuals) who could be labelled as or seen to be ‘on the periphery’ when compared to the bigger cities like Vancouver, Los Angeles, or Toronto. I also notice a marked difference when I leave Vancouver and visit towns a few hours from the city.

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  2. Emily Townsend

    I don’t think that Canada is in any way in the “periphery” or “less modern” than the US. Yet, I have heard people talk about how Canadians tend to know everything about the US, whereas some US Americans barely even know Canada exists. This being said, I don’t think Canada is behind in any sense. I also think that historically there’s been a misconception of how “great” modernity is. Being on the “periphery” may be beneficial in many ways.

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  3. Nayid Contreras

    Hi there,
    It is very interesting the idea of the periphery that you brought here. I also believe that you can have a periphery within Canada, and even Vancouver, such as it is Hasting street in Vancouver because you can find areas of neglect, segregation, and abandonment even in developed counties such as Canada or the United States. However, when you think of Latin America, it is hard not to associate the periphery with this part of the world because we know how extreme and present damaging factors such as poverty, war, and economic disparity appear in main society.

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  4. eva streitz

    I like the comment that Nayid made about the periphery being present not only between countries, but within countries itself.
    I think that a country can be on the periphery in different ways. It could be socially/politically or economically. Clearly, Canada is not on the periphery economically. However due to its significantly smaller population and lack of political aggressiveness it could be seen as in the periphery socially.

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