Diaspora, Race, MulticulturalismBook - 2015
Focusing on the work of black, diasporic writers in Canada, Blackening Canada investigates the manner in which literature can transform conceptions of nation and diaspora.
Focusing on the work of black, diasporic writers in Canada, particularly Dionne Brand, Austin Clarke, and Tessa McWatt, Blackening Canada investigates the manner in which literature can transform conceptions of nation and diaspora. Through a consideration of literary representation, public discourse, and the language of political protest, Paul Barrett argues that Canadian multiculturalism uniquely enables black diasporic writers to transform national literature and identity. These writers seize upon the ambiguities and tensions within Canadian discourses of nation to rewrite the nation from a black, diasporic perspective, converting exclusion from the national discourse into the impetus for their creative endeavours.
Within this context, Barrett suggests, debates over who counts as Canadian, the limits of tolerance, and the breaking points of Canadian multiculturalism serve not as signs of multiculturalism’s failure but as proof of both its vitality and of the unique challenges that black writing in Canada poses to multicultural politics and the nation itself.
The author examines the works of black diaspora writers in Canada--Dionne Brand's thirsty, Austin Clarke's recent fiction, and Tessa McWatt's Out of My Skin, as well as how they represent the death of Albert Johnson at the hands of two police officers--to discern how literature can impact ideas of multiculturalism and the role of diasporic histories in the formation of multicultural identities. He shows how the works illustrate the exclusionary and racist practices of Canada and the strategies practiced by black people for coping and surviving, and how the works address the concept of belonging and the state construction of blackness and how black people resist these forms. Annotation ©2015 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)