Transnational Canadas: Anglo-Canadian Literature and Globalization

Transnational Canadas: Anglo-Canadian Literature and Globalization

by Kit Dobson

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Overview

Transnational Canadas marks the first sustained inquiry into the relationship between globalization and Canadian literature written in English. Tracking developments in the literature and its study from the centennial period to the present, it shows how current work in transnational studies can provide new insights for researchers and students.

Arguing first that the dichotomy of Canadian nationalism and globalization is no longer valid in today’s economic climate, Transnational Canadas explores the legacy of leftist nationalism in Canadian literature. It examines the interventions of multicultural writing in the 1980s and 1990s, investigating the cultural politics of the period and how they increasingly became part of Canada’s state structure. Under globalization, the book concludes, we need to understand new forms of subjectivity and mobility as sites for cultural politics and look beyond received notions of belonging and being.

An original contribution to the study of Canadian literature, Transnational Canadas seeks to invigorate discussion by challenging students and researchers to understand the national and the global simultaneously, to look at the politics of identity beyond the rubric of multiculturalism, and to rethink the slippery notion of the political for the contemporary era.



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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781554580637
Publisher: Wilfrid Laurier University Press
Publication date: 08/04/2009
Series: TransCanada
Pages: 258
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Kit Dobson is an assistant professor of Canadian literature at Calgary’s Mount Royal University. He is the author of Transnational Canadas: Anglo-Canadian Literature and Globalization (WLU Press, 2009) and co-author, with Smaro Kamboureli, of Producing Canadian Literature: Authors Speak on the Literary Marketplace (WLU Press, 2012).

Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from Introduction to Transnational Canadas: Anglo-Canadian Literature and Globalization by Kit Dobson

The analyses of this book should be read as only one way of reading the shifts taking place in literary writing in Canada. Transnational Canadas makes an effort to connect its focal texts with others, both within a single writer's oeuvre and within broader literary communities. In so doing, it focuses upon both Canadian and non-Canadian sources, enacting in its criticism the very sorts of things that it sees happening in literature in Canada today. Its drive towards texts coming from both home and abroad is not driven so much by a desire to achieve an impossible form of inclusivity, but rather by a desire to create links between writers, books, and intellectual strains. This linking work seems precarious in an environment that segregates people from one another through the drive towards individualist consumption. Literature in the contemporary era is absolutely marked as a product for cultural consumption, a fact that makes each work part of that individualizing process; recovering the connections and communities that underlie writing is important in this context.

This book also sees itself as furthering some of the earlier projects in Canadian literary criticism such as Frank Davey's Post-National Arguments, a book that relies on the nation to provide a political defense against capitalist globalization at a moment when the Canadian nation-state is adopting a globalist mentality. Post-National Arguments is, indeed, the most obvious precursor to this present work. Davey's well-known discomfort with both the national and the global side of the Free Trade debate signals a dawning awareness of the inter-penetration of the two terms. Davey opts to support the nation in that book, but one wonders if he would do so in the same terms today. Instead of relying on the national as the grounds for discussion, Transnational Canadas is interested in seeing what happens when the transnational is taken to be the ground from which we begin discussions about literary production within a geopolitical space like Canada. This is a means of recognizing and coping with the global world system into which people are increasingly interpolated as citizens, refugees, undocumented migrants, or otherwise.

The central thesis of this book is, at its most reduced, that writing in Canada has become transnational. It is transnational in terms of its interests, its politics, and in terms of the corporate industry that supports it. Writing in Canada is concerned with crossing national borders thematically, just as it is concerned with marketing on a global scale. This transnational mindset can be seen in the writing, in Canada's cultural industries and cultural institutions, and in our methods of reading. It is important to look beyond the nation (without forgetting that it's still there) in order to rethink, rework, and resist what global capitalism has meant for those excluded from the dominant within nation-states, since the nation-state and neo-liberal models of globalization are ever more similar. A transnational mindset, however vexed, might play a role in resisting the cynical deployments of difference as marketing tools in this country. In order to continue to conduct its political and cultural experiment, Canada needs the transnational, in all of its configurations, in order to look to different scales in order to confront political and social problems.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents for Transnational Canadas: Anglo-Canadian Literature and Globalization by Kit Dobson

Introduction: Globalization and Canadian Literature

PART ONE: Reconstructing the Politics of Canadian Nationalism

Introduction to Part One

Chapter One: Spectres of Derrida and Theory’s Legacy

Chapter Two: Ambiguous Resistance in Margaret Atwood’s Surfacing

Chapter Three: Nationalism and the Void in Dennis Lee’s Civil Elegies

Chapter Four: Leonard Cohen’s Beautiful Losers and the Crisis of Canadian Modernity

Conclusion to Part One

PART TWO: Indigeneity and the Rise of Canadian Multiculturalism

Introduction to Part Two

Chapter Five: Critique of Spivakian Reason and Canadian Postcolonialisms

Chapter Six: Multiculturalism and Reconciliation in Joy Kogawa’s Obasan

Chapter Seven: Multicultural Postmodernities in Michael Ondaatje’s In the Skin of a Lion

Chapter Eight: Dismissing Canada in Jeannette Armstrong’s Slash

Conclusion to Part Two

PART THREE: Canada in the World

Introduction to Part Three

Chapter Nine: Transnational Multitudes

Chapter Ten: Mainstreaming Multiculturalism? The Giller Prize

Chapter Eleven: Global Subjectivities in Roy Miki’s Surrender

Chapter Twelve: Writing Past Belonging in Dionne Brand’s What We All Long For

Conclusion to Part Three



Conclusion: Transnational Canadas



Bibliography

Index

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