Chapter 4 Encountering Canada: Immigrant and Ethnic-Minority Writing

In: Immigrant and Ethnic-Minority Writers since 1945
Christl Verduyn
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Immigrant and ethnic-minority writing in Canada engages the enduring question of what comprises Canadian identity and reflects the country’s history and policies on immigration and multiculturalism, the evolving demographics of the population and, since 1980, the critical, social and intellectual movements of feminism, anti-racism, (post)colonialism, transculturalism, transnationalism and globalism. The distinction between Canadian literature and Québécois literature adds complexity to the discussion of immigrant and ethnic-minority literature in Canada; for historical linguistic and cultural reasons, the two traditions have developed separately, in different languages and in relation to different concerns. At the same time, Canada’s history as a colonial settler nation has linked immigrant and ethnic-minority experience with that of Indigenous peoples, such that it is impossible to discuss these experiences separately. Immigrant and ethnic-minority writing in Canada constantly questions the concepts, categories, theories and terms used to describe it, including the conceptual category of immigrant and ethnic-minority writing itself.

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