Montreal, Toronto, and the Problem of Comparing Cities

Edited by Johanne Sloan
Publisher: McGill-Queen’s University Press

ISBN: (0773531823) 9780773531826

ISBN: (0773531823) 9780773531826

The practice of comparison is implicit in every act of imagining, representing, and studying urban experience. Urban Enigmas contributes to recent interdisciplinary interest in cities by introducing comparison as a key methodology for urban cultural analysis.

Contributors, part of the collaborative research project The Culture of Cities: Montreal, Toronto, Dublin, and Berlin, address theoretical and methodological aspects of comparison, while case-studies examine the mutually constituted identities of Montreal and Toronto through examples of travel writing, public art, film festivals, theatrical performances, diasporic communities, ethnic festivals, and urban media. Comparison is shown to be not only something performed by experts but a deeply embedded, everyday social practice that contributes to the mutable identities of cities. Urban Enigmas demonstrates that the accumulation of urban actions, encounters, experiences, and relationships create distinctive patterns that make it possible to recognize the particularity of cities.




Table of Contents

Johanne Sloan: Introduction
Part One: Practising Comparison
Alan Blum: Comparing Cities: On the Mutual Honouring of Peculiarities
Jean-François Côté: Comparing the Cultures of Cities: Epistemological Perspectives on the Concept of Metropolis from the Cultural Sciences
Kevin Dowler: “To Squeeze a Single Sentence Out”: Estrangement and Disenchantment in Benjamin’s “Marseilles”
Part Two: Fragmented Cities
Michael Darroch and Jean-François Morissette: The Dragonfly of Chicoutimi: Staging Polyphony in Montreal and Toronto
Greg M. Nielsen: The Imagine-Nation in the City: Seriocomedy and Local Democracy
Nicholas Demaria Harney: Ethnicity, Social Organization, and Urban Space: A Comparison of Italians in Toronto and Montreal
Johanne Sloan: At Home on the Street: Public Art in Montreal and Toronto
Part Three: Global Narratives
Dipti Gupta and Janine Marchessault: Film Festivals as Urban Encounter and Cultural Traffic
Jenny Burman: Divergent Diversities: Pluralizing Toronto and Montreal
Kieran Bonner: Reflexive Theorizing while Traveling through Montreal and Toronto: The Global Cities Discourse, New Urbanism, and the Travel Essays of Jan Morris
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Publication Date: February 2007

Review Quotes

“An ambitious, multi-disciplinary, and collaborative project, this volume heralds the kind of urban studies that we need, studies that use contemporary cultural theories and cross-disciplinary approaches.”

Goran Stanivukovic, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of English, St. Mary’s University

“This original book is useful in helping to connect cultural products – books, films, architecture – to the underlying structures of society.”

Raymond Conlogue, reporter, The Globe and Mail