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What do R.K. Narayan, G.V. Desani, Anita Desai, Zulfikar Ghose, Suniti Namjoshi, and Salman Rushdie have in common?
They represent Indian writing in English over five decades. Vilified by many cultural nationalists for not writing in native languages, they nonetheless present a critique of the historical and cultural conditions that promoted and sustained writing in English. They also have in common a counterrealist aesthetic that asks its own social, political, and textual questions.
This book is about the need to look at the tradition of Indian writing in English from the perspective of counterrealism. The departure from the conventions of mimetic writing not only challenges the limits of realism but also enables Indo-Anglian authors to access formative areas of colonial experience.
Kanaganayakam analyzes the fiction of writers who work in this vibrant Indo-Anglian tradition and demonstrates patterns of continuity and change during the last five decades. Each chapter draws attention to what is distinctive about the artifice in each author while pointing to the features that connect them. The book concludes with a study of contemporary writing and its commitment to non-mimetic forms.
Studies in Local Popular Culture
Covering Niagara: Studies in Local Popular Culture closely examines some of the myriad forms of popular culture in the Niagara region of Canada. Essays consider common assumptions and definitions of what popular culture is and seek to determine whether broad theories of popular culture can explain or make sense of localized instances of popular culture and the cultural experiences of people in their daily lives.
Among the many topics covered are local bicycle parades and war memorials, cooking and wine culture, radio and movie-going, music stores and music scenes, tourist sites, and blackface minstrel shows. The authors approach their subjects from a variety of critical and historical perspectives and employ a range of methodologies that includes cultural studies, textual analysis, archival research, and participant interviews. Altogether, Covering Niagara provides a richly diverse mapping of the popular culture of a particular area of Canada and demonstrates the complexities of everyday culture.
Demonology and Politics in France, 1560-1620
One of the most intriguing, and disturbing, aspects of history is that most people in early modern Europe believed in the reality and dangers of witchcraft. Most historians have described the witchcraft phenomenon as one of tremendous violence. In France, dozens of books, pamphets and tracts, depicting witchcraft as the most horrible of crimes, were published and widely distributed.
Yet, in his new book, The Crime of Crimes: Demonology and Politics in France, 1560-1620, Jonathan Pearl shows that France carried out relatively few executions for witchcraft. Through careful research he shows that a zealous Catholic faction identified the Protestant rebels as traitors and heretics in league with the devil and clamoured for the political and legal establishment to exterminate these enemies of humanity. But the courts were dominated by moderate Catholics whose political views were in sharp contrast to those of the zealots and, as a result, the demonologists failed to ignite a major witch-craze in France.
Very few studies have taken such a careful and penetrating look at demonology in France. The Crime of Crimes: Demonology and Politics in France, 1560-1620 sheds new light on an important period in the history of witchcraft and will be welcomed by scholars and laypersons alike.
The Poetry of M. Travis Lane
The Crisp Day Closing on My Hand: The Poetry of M. Travis Lane is a collection of thirty-five of her best poems, selected with an introduction by Jeanette Lynes. An environmentalist, feminist, and peace activist, M. Travis Lane is known for witty and meticulously crafted poems that explore the elusive nature of “home” in both historical and present contexts and reflect on the identity of the woman poet and what it means to be a writer. Lane’s poems exhibit impressive range and variety—long poems, short lyrics, serial poems, poems inspired by visual art—and are richly attentive to the landscapes, both urban and wild, of her New Brunswick home. They voice a sense of urgency with respect to ecological crises and war; her poetic attention fixes unwaveringly on the smallest pebble on the coast of Fundy but is equally attuned to global patterns of destructive domination.
In her introduction “As Opportunity for Grace, This Life May Serve”, editor Jeanette Lynes discusses how Lane’s poetry integrates an ecopoetic vision with explorations of the artist’s task of mapping her world. Lane’s afterword reinforces her sense of the poet’s project as a form of mystical play, a search for patterns in the “unified disunities” of all things.
Indigenity, Diaspora, and Ecology in Canadian Literary Studies
Critical Collaborations: Indigeneity, Diaspora, and Ecology in Canadian Literary Studies is the third volume of essays produced as part of the TransCanada conferences project. The essays gathered in Critical Collaborations constitute a call for collaboration and kinship across disciplinary, political, institutional, and community borders. They are tied together through a simultaneous call for resistance—to Eurocentrism, corporatization, rationalism, and the fantasy of total systems of knowledge—and a call for critical collaborations. These collaborations seek to forge connections without perceived identity—linking concepts and communities without violating the differences that constitute them, seeking epistemic kinships while maintaining a willingness to not-know. In this way, they form a critical conversation between seemingly distinct areas and demonstrate fundamental allegiances between diasporic and indigenous scholarship, transnational and local knowledges, legal and eco-critical methodologies. Links are forged between Indigenous knowledge and ecological and social justice, creative critical reading, and ambidextrous epistemologies, unmaking the nation through translocalism and unsettling histories of colonial complicity through a poetics of relation. Together, these essays reveal how the critical methodologies brought to bear on literary studies can both challenge and exceed disciplinary structures, presenting new forms of strategic transdisciplinarity that expand the possibilities of Canadian literary studies while also emphasizing humility, complicity, and the limits of knowledge.
Replacing Critical Thinking with Creativity
Should we stop teaching critical thinking? Meant as a prompt to further discussion, Critical Condition questions the assumption that every student should be turned into a “critical thinker.”
The book starts with the pre-Socratics and the impact that Socrates’ death had on his student Plato and traces the increasingly violent use of critical “attack” on a perceived opponent. From the Roman militarization of debate to the medieval Church’s use of defence as a means of forcing confession and submission, the early phases of critical thinking were bound up in a type of attack that Finn suggests does not best serve intellectual inquiry. Recent developments have seen critical thinking become an ideology rather than a critical practice, with levels of debate devolving to the point where most debate becomes ad hominem. Far from arguing that we abandon critical inquiry, the author suggests that we emphasize a more open, loving system of engagement that is not only less inherently violent but also more robust when dealing with vastly more complex networks of information.
This book challenges long-held beliefs about the benefits of critical thinking, which is shown to be far too linear to deal with the twenty-first century world. Critical Condition is a call to action unlike any other.
The Emergence of Global Civil Society
Public concern about inequitable economic globalization has revealed the demand for citizen participation in global decision making. Civil society organizations have taken up the challenge, holding governments and corporations accountable for their decisions and actions, and developing collaborative solutions to the dominant problems of our time. Critical Mass: The Emergence of Global Civil Society offers a unique mixture of experience and analysis by the leaders of some of the most influential global civil society organizations and respected academics who specialize in this field of study.
Co-published with the Centre for International Governance Innovation
The Canadian Protestant Missionary Movement in the Japanese Empire, 1872-1931
Drawing on both Canadian and Japanese sources, this book investigates the life, work, and attitudes of Canadian Protestant missionaries in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan (the three main constituent parts of the pre-1945 Japanese empire) from the arrival of the first Canadian missionary in East Asia in 1872 until 1931. Canadian missionaries made a significant contribution to the development of the Protestant movement in the Japanese Empire. Yet their influence also extended far beyond the Christian sphere. Through their educational, social, and medical work; their role in introducing new Western ideas and social pursuits; and their outspoken criticism of the brutalities of Japanese rule in colonial Korea and Taiwan, the activities of Canadian missionaries had an impact on many different facets of society and culture in the Japanese Empire. Missionaries residing in the Japanese Empire served as a link between citizens of Japan and Canada and acted as trusted interpreters of things Japanese to their home constituents.
The British Protestant Missionary Movement in Japan, Korea and Taiwan, 1865-1945
The influx of Protestant missionaries from Britain to Japan, Korea and Taiwan was an integral part of the British presence in East Asia from 1865 to 1945. Ion draws on both British and Japanese sources to examine the life, work and attitudes of the British missionaries, women and men, who ventured far from their homeland to preach the gospel. He explores the role played by British Protestants as both Christian missionaries and informal ambassadors of their own country and civilization. Through their educational, social and medical work the missionaries helped introduce Western ideas and social pursuits which in turn affected different facets of society and culture in Japan, Korea and Taiwan. The study illustrates how the British missionaries’ intent to introduce Christianity was affected by the response of the East Asians to Western ideas.
In describing the high drama of the British missionary movement’s pioneering days in the late nineteenth century to its persecution during the late 1930s, Ion casts light on a particular, yet important, aspect of the changing tides of Anglo-Japanese relations. This book will ably complement his previous study of Canadian missionaries in East Asia during the same period.
Chosen as one of the 15 outstanding books of 1993 for mission studies by the International Bulletin of Missionary Research.