Abstract

Abstract:

Building on recent scholarship on the role of the Frankfurt Book Fair in contemporary book culture, this paper looks at FBM2021, Canada's guest-of-honour campaign for the 2021 Frankfurt Book Fair. FBM2021's brand, "Singular Plurality," depended on Indigenous authors and their writing to signify the post-reconciliation eclecticism that is at the heart of Canadian Heritage's current cultural export strategy. The sign of reconciliation—part of a settler strategy that Lowman and Barker identify as transcendence––is particularly treacherous in this context because it folds Indigenous writers and their work into a creative-economy logic that depends on cultural diversity as a unifying sign, while actively suppressing questions regarding Indigenous sovereignty. We argue that the campaign's silencing of questions of production is the motor of transcendence. Drawing on a survey we conducted with Indigenous-owned publishers in Canada, we attend to the unique needs of Indigenous-owned publishers to make visible the fact that reconciliation is not simply a matter of culture; it is at the same time always a matter of political and economic sovereignty.

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