Documenting Expo’67: A Documentary Assemblage and Construction of an Inclusive and Multicultural Canada

By Marc Kosciejew.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

When they said that the past is another country, they must have been imagining Canada in 1967. That summer, Canada hosted Expo’67, an extravagant and futuristic international exposition, enchanting the world with its cosmopolitan eclecticism. Intimately Canadian, this occasion also celebrated the country’s 100th birthday and symbolized a turning point for Canada into a more inclusive and multicultural society; many Canadians argue that, in fact, Expo’67 came to define Canada itself. But what exactly was Expo’67, how did it enchant the world, and how did it come to define Canada as an inclusive and multicultural place? This article argues that the documentation – that is documents and documentary practices – of Expo’67 helped the ideas of Canadian inclusiveness and multiculturalism to emerge. First, Exp’67 was one grand document: it was an assemblage of documents that, when put together in a unified whole, allowed for the idea Expo’67 to emerge. Second, practices with these documents, from their production, deployment, handling, reading, inscribing, and use, helped spread the idea of Expo’67 to the world, allowing those individuals not in Montreal experience Expo themselves. And, third, the promotion of these documents within and across Canada helped entrench the idea and fact of the country being an inclusive and multicultural society. Applying documentation theories to Expo’67 – Bernd Frohmann’s constitutive effects of documentation, Bruno Latour’s map, Niels Windfeld Lund’s documentation of an art museum exhibit, as well as Janine Marchessault’s concept of the ‘media city’ and Benedict Anderson’s idea of the ‘monument’– helps illuminate the numerous roles and effects that documentation had on this spectacular occasion. Documentation was an integral component of Expo’67, and without it, Expo’67 would have been only a transient dream rather than a physical reality working upon the international dreams of the world and the national imaginings of Canada.

Keywords: Expo’67, Documentation, Documents, Documentary Practices, Canada, Inclusive, Inclusivity, Multicultural, Multiculturalism

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 4, Issue 9, pp.165-176. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.252MB).

Marc Kosciejew

Doctoral Candidate, Faculty of Media and Information Studies, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada

Marc Kosciejew is a Doctoral Candidate in Library and Information Science (LIS)in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies (FIMS) at the University of Western Ontario (UWO). His doctoral research concentrates on the constitutive effects of documents and their associated documentary practices.

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