Challenging Addiction in Canadian Literature and Classrooms

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University of Toronto Press, Jan 1, 2016 - Education - 259 pages

In the richly interdisciplinary study, Challenging Addiction in Canadian Literature and Classrooms, Cara Fabre argues that popular culture in its many forms contributes to common assumptions about the causes, and personal and social implications, of addiction. Recent fictional depictions of addiction significantly refute the idea that addiction is caused by poor individual choices or solely by disease through the connections the authors draw between substance use and poverty, colonialism, and gender-based violence.

With particular interest in the pervasive myth of the "Drunken Indian", Fabre asserts that these novels reimagine addiction as social suffering rather than individual pathology or moral failure. Fabre builds on the growing body of humanities research that brings literature into active engagement with other fields of study including biomedical and cognitive behavioural models of addiction, medical and health policies of harm reduction, and the practices of Alcoholics Anonymous. The book further engages with critical pedagogical strategies to teach critical awareness of stereotypes of addiction and to encourage the potential of literary analysis as a form of social activism.


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Reading and Teaching Addiction as Social Suffering
1 Ideological Tropes of Contemporary Addiction Narratives
2 Poverty Individualism and the Meaningful Uses of Alcohol and Drugs in Christy Ann Conlins Heave and Heather ONeills lullabies for little criminals
3 Anorexia and the Production of Economically Oriented Subjects in Ibi Kasliks Skinny and Kevin Pattersons Consumption
4 Dismantling the Myth of the Drunken Indian through Beatrice Culleton Mosioniers In Search of April Raintree and Eden Robinsons Monkey Beach
Beyond the Classroom From Innocence to Accountability

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About the author (2016)

Cara Fabre is an assistant professor in the Department of Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Windsor.

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