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Literary Criticism Canadian

Beyond "Understanding Canada"

Transnational Perspectives on Canadian Literature

edited by Melissa Tanti, Jeremy Haynes, Daniel Coleman & Lorraine York

The University of Alberta Press
Initial publish date
Mar 2017
Canadian, Cultural Policy
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    Publish Date
    Mar 2017
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    Apr 2017
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The dismantling of “Understanding Canada”—an international program eliminated by Canada’s Conservative government in 2012—posed a tremendous potential setback for Canadianists. Yet Canadian writers continue to be celebrated globally by popular and academic audiences alike. Twenty scholars speak to the government’s diplomatic and economic about-face and its implications for representations of Canadian writing within and outside Canada’s borders. The contributors to this volume remind us of the obstacles facing transnational intellectual exchange, but also salute scholars’ persistence despite these obstacles. Beyond “Understanding Canada” is a timely, trenchant volume for students and scholars of Canadian literature and anyone seeking to understand how Canadian literature circulates in a transnational world.

Contributors: Michael A. Bucknor, Daniel Coleman, Anne Collett, Pilar Cuder-Domínguez, Ana María Fraile-Marcos, Jeremy Haynes, Cristina Ivanovici, Milena Kaličanin, Smaro Kamboureli, Katalin Kürtösi, Vesna Lopičić, Belén Martín-Lucas, Claire Omhovère, Lucia Otrísalová, Don Sparling, Melissa Tanti, Christl Verduyn, Elizabeth Yeoman, Lorraine York

About the authors

Melissa Tanti is a PhD candidate in English at McMaster University. Her area of specialization is contemporary women’s literature and feminist critical theory.

Melissa Tanti's profile page

Jeremy Haynes is a PhD candidate in the Department of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University where he studies Canadian, Indigenous, and diasporic literatures with an interest in Indigenous methodologies.

Jeremy Haynes' profile page

After finishing high school in Ethiopia, Daniel Coleman earned university degrees at the University of Regina and the University of Alberta. He now holds the Canada Research Chair in Critical Ethnicity and Race Study in the English department of McMaster University. Daniel Coleman is a leading researcher in the depiction of immigrant men in Canadian literature. He has won the John Charles Polanyi Prize for his study of how literary texts produce and reinforce categories of cultural identification such as gender, ethnicity and nationality. His critically acclaimed book, Masculine Migrations: Reading the Postcolonial Male in "New Canadian" Narratives, published in 1998 by University of Toronto Press, is considered the foundational Canadian work in the field. While being a bahir-zaff throughout his childhood brought Daniel Coleman the pain of never fully belonging, it also gave him the immeasurable benefits and insights of an intercultural life. Several of his essays on his missionary childhood have appeared in magazines and journals. "The Babies in the Colonial Washtub," included in a revised form in The Scent of the Eucalyptus, won a Silver Medal in the National Magazine Awards. 

Daniel Coleman's profile page

Lorraine York is Senator William McMaster Chair in Canadian Literature and Culture in the Department of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Her most recent books are Margaret Atwood and the Labour of Literary Celebrity (2013) and Literary Celebrity in Canada (2007). She is currently at work on a project on reluctant celebrity.

Lorraine York's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Beyond 'Understanding Canada' takes its name and impetus from the Canadian government’s 2012 cancellation of the “Understanding Canada” program, which ended nearly forty years of financial support for interdisciplinary studies of Canada around the world. As the title suggests, the collection quickly moves beyond the Understanding Canada program to examine a broader range of questions regarding the transnational circulation of Canadian literature.... [The collection] succeeds admirably, overcoming the 'material challenges' of international scholarship not only to argue for but also to demonstrate convincingly the transnational nature of Canadian literary studies." Canadian Literature 235, Winter 2017 [Full article at]

Robert Zacharias

"The editors draw a number of important conclusions from the collection: that the popularity of Canadian women writers abroad must be linked to their power politics; that Canada has a set of ‘less laudable links’ (Collett) that need to be examined too; that indigenous writing needs to be more visibly worked into transnational contexts, that ‘transing [as in ‘transnational’] provides an opportunity to unsettle the profitability of any singular notion of national identity’."

Oxford University Press Journals, Volume 98, Issue 1

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