Blackening Canada: Diaspora, Race, Multiculturalism

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University of Toronto Press, Jan 1, 2015 - African diaspora in literature - 240 pages

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.


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Texts and Contexts of Blackening
1 Temporalities of Becoming in Dionne Brands thirsty
Mobility in Austin Clarkes Recent Fiction
Canadian History and the Representation of Albert Johnson
4 Race Heritage and Recognition in Tessa McWatts Out of My Skin
5 Concluding
Blah Blah Blah Emergent Critical Multiculturalism in Brampton Ontario
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About the author (2015)

Paul Barrett is a Banting postdoctoral fellow in the Department of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University.

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