Cultural Grammars of Nation, Diaspora, and Indigeneity in Canada considers how the terms of critical debate in literary and cultural studies in Canada have shifted with respect to race, nation, and difference. In asking how Indigenous and diasporic interventions have remapped these debates, the contributors argue that a new “cultural grammar” is at work and attempt to sketch out some of the ways it operates.
The essays reference pivotal moments in Canadian literary and cultural history and speak to ongoing debates about Canadian nationalism, postcolonalism, migrancy, and transnationalism. Topics covered include the Asian race riots in Vancouver in 1907, the cultural memory of internment and dispersal of Japanese Canadians in the 1940s, the politics of migrant labour and the “domestic labour scheme” in the 1960s, and the trial of Robert Pickton in Vancouver in 2007. The contributors are particularly interested in how diaspora and indigeneity continue to contribute to this critical reconfiguration and in how conversations about diaspora and indigeneity in the Canadian context have themselves been transformed. Cultural Grammars is an attempt to address both the interconnections and the schisms between these multiply fractured critical terms as well as the larger conceptual shifts that have occurred in response to national and postnational arguments.