Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Adjacencies: Minority Writing in Canada

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Adjacencies: Minority Writing in Canada

Article excerpt

Lianne Moyes, Licia Canton and Dominic Beneventi (eds), Adjacencies: Minority Writing in Canada (Toronto: Guernica, 2004), 256pp. Paper. $20. ISBN 1-5507- 1167-9.

Adjacencies is an essay collection resulting from the conference 'The Third Solitude: Canadian Minority Writing', held at the Université de Montréal in March 1998. The aim of the volume is to explore the intersections between literature and ethnicity in Canada. The articles included utilise a range of critical and theoretical perspectives including feminist criticism, cultural studies and postcolonial studies. The editors suggest that these essays contribute towards 'unsettling the very distinction' between centre and periphery in Canadian literature (p. 7).

As an edited collection, Adjacencies offers many different perspectives on Canadian minority writing. Some critics reject strictly national definitions of Canadian identity, such as Amaryll Chanady, who contributes the article 'The Construction of Minority Subjectivities at the End of the Twentieth Century'. Chanady rejects the notion of strictly circumscribed national territories, suggesting that the writing of minority Canadians emphasises a new 'transcultural' paradigm that refers to 'no strictly defined space, but a crossing through and a going beyond a particular culture' (p. 31). By using such terms, Chanady refutes monolithic and essentialising views of minority groups. It is interesting, then, that several of the less strong articles in the collection draw neat boxes around their ethnic subjects. …

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