[Milton-L] Writing the Foreign in Canadian Literature and Humanitarian Narratives now available online

UTP Journals thawkic551 at rogers.com
Mon Jun 10 11:38:22 EDT 2013

Now available 


Writing the Foreign in Canadian Literature and Humanitarian Narratives 

University of Toronto Quarterly - Volume 82, Number 2, Spring 2013



Evolving from a 2011 TransCanada Institute colloquium - ‘Desire, Empathy,
Vulnerability’, the Spring 2013 issue of UTQ, ‘Writing the Foreign in
Canadian Literature and Humanitarian Narratives’, extends the discussion
surrounding bearing witness and the politics of empathy. Contributors to
this special issue look at how to respond to the violence suffered by others
without inflicting further violence on them. 


This issue contains: 


Writing the Foreign in Canadian Literature and Humanitarian Narratives

Smaro Kamboureli      

DOI: 10.3138/UTQ.82.2.87



Reflections on Writing The Disappeared

Ching Ai Lin(Kim Echlin)         


Novelist Kim Echlin reflects on the process and conditions that led her to
write The Disappeared, a novel as much about the Cambodian genocide as about
love. She discusses the role of memory, empathy, and translation as they
relate to her understanding of the other and her own otherness as well as
the need to access the truth about the violence and loss that accompanies
violent regimes. DOI: 10.3138/UTQ.82.2.127



‘We are the other, the other is us’

Kim Echlin, Smaro Kamboureli, Hannah McGregor  


In this interview, Kim Echlin discusses Canadian writers’ interest in
writing about other cultures, which requires research and an empathic
imagination as well as the responsibility to people who cannot tell their
own stories of trauma. She addresses primarily her process of writing The
Disappeared, her novel about Cambodia, in which the central character tests
the limits of empathy and witnessing.

DOI: 10.3138/UTQ.82.2.132



Witnessing Cambodia’s Disappeared

Y-Dang Troeung         


Representing the first two sustained literary treatments of the Cambodian
genocide in Canadian literature, Kim Echlin’s The Disappeared and Madeleine
Thien’s Dogs at the Perimeter employ the genre of fiction to contribute to
the testimonial archive of the atrocities committed by Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge
regime while simultaneously deconstructing the foreignness of this
historical trauma in relation to Canada’s past. Mobilizing an aesthetics of
entwined responsibility that claims Cambodia’s history as a part of Canada’s
international history, the novels of Echlin and Thien prompt a consideration
of the role of novels written by non-Cambodians in confronting issues of
Western complicity in foreign human rights abuses and in mediating questions
about alternative epistemologies of healing and trauma recovery in the
aftermath of mass violence. This essay suggests that the failure of justice
and accountability that has characterized Cambodia’s international human
rights movement speaks to the urgency and importance of such acts of
literary responsibility. DOI: 10.3138/UTQ.82.2.150



Travel, Ethics, and Moral Distress in The Prophet’s Camel Bell

Suzanne Bailey           


The ideological work of The Prophet’s Camel Bell as it is directed to
Western readers highlights ethics as a concern and maps elements of an
ethically informed response to questions of cultural difference. The memoir
suggests that encounters with the foreign can become part of a reorientation
toward other environments, which include people as well as natural and
human-made affordances. This essay considers the foreign not as a static
object or concept but as an embodied field in The Prophet’s Camel Bell,
drawing on Tim Ingold’s environmentalist anthropology. Conceptualized in
this way, ‘Somalia’ consists in a series of shifting environments rather
than a singular, describable entity, paralleling Laurence’s own emergence
within these spaces. At the same time, the text contains historically
specific aesthetic strands that create political inconsistencies in the text
that have puzzled Laurence’s critics. The essay argues for renewed critical
attention to epistemological and ethical issues in a major work in the genre
of Canadian travel writing. DOI: 10.3138/UTQ.82.2.168



Troping the Foreign in P.K. Page’s ‘Questions and Images’

Hannah McGregor      


The years that poet P.K. Page spent in Brazil as wife of the Canadian
ambassador are widely considered to be a transformative episode in her
literary career, marking a dramatic shift in her aesthetics. Critical work
on Brazil’s influence on Page tends, however, to deploy Brazil as a trope of
the foreign, eliding her affiliation with the Canadian embassy. This
construction of Brazil mirrors Page’s own narrativization of her time there,
exemplified in her 1969 essay ‘Questions and Images,’ originally published
in a special tenth anniversary issue of Canadian Literature but most
frequently cited in its 1991 republication in The Glass Air: Poems Selected
and New. This essay examines the different print contexts of ‘Questions and
Images’ to call for a rereading of Page’s Brazilian work that is more
attentive to the geopolitical realities of Canadian-Brazilian relations and
the alignment of Page’s travels with a particular moment in Canadian
cultural nationalism. DOI: 10.3138/UTQ.82.2.185



The First and Last Country: Some Notes on Writing and Living the Foreign

Karen Connelly           


In this essay, Karen Connelly reflects on how travel to foreign places and
learning foreign languages have played a role in her writing development.
While the body is the first and last country for the writer, she makes her
home in strangeness, remaining aware of the shape-shifting impact of empathy
for others. DOI: 10.3138/UTQ.82.2.198



‘Implicated by the truth’

Karen Connelly, Smaro Kamboureli, Hannah McGregor      


Karen Connelly’s poetry and prose has dealt extensively with her experience
of living abroad and writing about foreign places – notably Thailand, Burma,
France, Spain, and Greece. In this interview, she discusses how learning a
foreign language offers her a point of entry into a new culture and
transforms her sense of self as well as how her books – especially Touch the
Dragon, One Room in a Castle, The Lizard Cage, and Burmese Lessons – engage
with concepts of the foreign and the fraughtness of empathy. DOI:



Canadian Female Gothic on the Foreign Border: Margaret Atwood’s Bodily Harm
and Karen Connelly’s Burmese Lessons

Marlene Goldman       


My essay analyzes why and how Atwood’s Bodily Harm and Connelly’s Burmese
Lessons forge an identification of female and Canadian identity with the
heroine of the Female Gothic who is eternally in need of rescue. In both
works, empathy for the ‘other’ is mediated by the narratives’ fidelity to
the Female Gothic which informs their depictions of the male foreigner as
the seductive, menacing other. Although Bodily Harm’s and Burmese Lessons’s
construction of white female identity as traumatized and silenced is
ultimately rejected, both narratives adhere to the Gothic’s emphasis on the
heroines’ battles against victimization and patriarchal control. Whereas
Bodily Harm follows the logic of the Gothic, Burmese Lessons outlines an
alternative biopolitical engagement with the foreign based on a recognition
rather than a disavowal of the nonhuman animal within the human – a
recognition that, while grounded in the Gothic, exceeds its opposition
between powerful men and helpless women. DOI: 10.3138/UTQ.82.2.225



‘History’s Pulse Measured with Another Hand’: Precarity Archives and
Translocal Citizen Witness in Dionne Brand’s Inventory

Brenda Carr Vellino    


Dionne Brand’s long poem Inventory (2006) calls for recognition of
intersecting sites of embodied vulnerability within the state security
regimes that render Arab bodies as collateral damage and the deportation
regimes that produce undocumented workers, refugees, and asylum seekers as
‘the citizen’s other.’ Brand’s central strategy is the creation of
juxtaposed precarity archives of disregarded bodies subject to violent death
in Iraqi war zones and in transnational deportation zones. Foregrounding the
meditated witness to international atrocities, Brand constructs a tenuous
position of ethical accounting through four related strategies: creation of
a post-identitarian yet embodied poetic subjectivity; interrogation of
distanced witness passivity through the stance of translocal citizenship;
mapping cross connections between zones of precarization; and producing
affective intimacy based in the material vulnerability of the body as the
foci for ‘ethically oppositional mourning’ (Spargo). DOI:



‘Throw yourself into the deep end’

Camilla Gibb, Smaro Kamboureli, Hannah McGregor          


Camilla Gibb discusses how and why her creative impulse finds its
inspiration elsewhere – in Ethiopia and England for her novel Sweetness in
the Belly and Vietnam for her novel The Beauty of the Humanity Movement –
the limits of the cultural appropriation debate, and the relationship
between her training as anthropologist and her fiction writing. DOI:



Settler Nationalism and the Foreign: The Representation of the Exogene in
Ernest Thompson Seton’s Two Little Savages and Dionne Brand’s What We All
Long For

Lee Frew         


The privilege afforded to anglophone whiteness in English Canada would seem
to be at odds with the cliché that Canadian national identity is elusive. As
a settler society, English Canada imagines itself relative to the others it
defines within a complex process of indigenization. Critical attention has
usually focused on the way the indigenous is represented to insist upon the
seamless integration of settler cultures into their physical environments
and to exonerate them from traumatic colonial histories. Viewing
indigenization as a simultaneous abnegation of foreign traits, this essay
investigates the signifying process as it relates to ‘exogeneity’, or
foreign otherness, in English Canada. A comparative analysis of Ernest
Thompson Seton’s Two Little Savages (1903) and Dionne Brand’s What We All
Long For (2005) reveals the way in which consistent representations of the
foreign – the ‘exogene’ and the ‘exogenous’ – remain integral to the
articulation of national identity in English Canada. DOI:



Gendered Colonial Complicity and Postcolonial Desire: Daphne Marlatt’s ‘In
the Month of Hungry Ghosts’

Andrea Beverley         


First published in The Capilano Review in 1979, Daphne Marlatt’s ‘In the
Month of Hungry Ghosts’ is a multigeneric text that emerged out of a trip
that Marlatt took to visit her childhood home in Penang, Malaysia. This
essay focuses on the narrator’s relationship to her surroundings in Penang,
the representation of her memsahib mother, and the narrator’s desire to
reconnect with her childhood caretaker. The narrator positions herself in
relation to these two women to grapple with the legacies of the class and
gender dynamics of her childhood household. She experiences a disquieting
sense of colonial complicity as well as an anticolonial, feminist desire to
articulate that complicity and to cultivate relationships that move beyond
colonial scripts. DOI: 10.3138/UTQ.82.2.298



‘Putting the strange in the stranger’

Michael Helm, Smaro Kamboureli, Hannah McGregor         


Michael Helm’s most recent novel, Cities of Refuge (2010), takes as its
starting point an act of violence that reverberates through, and
intertwines, the lives of a group of disparate people living in Toronto.
Raising questions about contemporary regimes of racialization, art’s
capacity to respond to violence, and the ethical ambiguity of fiction’s
attempts to account for historical and political atrocities, the novel
constitutes a challenge to familiar notions of family, justice, and truth.
In this interview, Helm addresses the ‘resistance’ of nontransparent
language and the power of literature to lift readers out of the ‘white
noise’ of culture. DOI: 10.3138/UTQ.82.2.314



Foreign Encounters: The Political and Visual Aesthetics of Humanitarianism
in Contemporary Canadian Film Culture

Heike Härting  


This essay examines the visual politics of Patrick Reed’s documentary
Triage: Dr. James Orbinski’s Humanitarian Dilemma (2008) and Larysa
Kondracki’s feature film The Whistleblower (2010). Both of these films
investigate the relationship between aesthetics and politics, the encounter
with the other, and what Jacques Rancière calls ‘the distribution of the
sensible.’ In contrast to Rancière, this essay explores how the
redistribution of the sensible operates through the highly racialized,
gendered, and spectacular technologies of humanitarian film productions. It
examines what it means to encounter the other not as a human being but as a
visual image, and explores the relationship between the economics of the
image (the abject as coded in the trafficked foreign female body) and the
consumers and agents of visual abjection in the context of humanitarian
interventionism. It rereads Rancière’s notion of dissensus in gendered
terms, and thus seeks to unsettle given modes of the humanitarian spectacle.
DOI: 10.3138/UTQ.82.2.331



Michael Ignatieff, Romeo Dallaire, Stephen Lewis, and the Making(s) of a
Canadian Global Conscience

Asha Varadharajan     


DOI: 10.3138/UTQ.82.2.353




Submissions to UTQ

University of Toronto Quarterly welcomes contributions in all areas of the
humanities – literature, philosophy, fine arts, music, the history of ideas,
cultural studies, and so on. It favours articles that appeal to a scholarly
readership beyond the specialists in the field of the given submission. For
full details, please visit  <http://www.utpjournals.com/utq>


University of Toronto Quarterly

Acclaimed as one of the finest journals focused on the humanities,
University of Toronto Quarterly is filled with serious, probing, and
vigorously researched articles spanning a wide range of subjects in the
humanities. Often the best insights in one field of knowledge come through
cross-fertilization, where authors can apply another discipline’s ideas,
concepts, and paradigms to their own disciplines. UTQ is not a journal where
one philosopher speaks to another, but a place where a philosopher can speak
to specialists and general readers in many other fields. This
interdisciplinary approach provides a depth and quality to the journal that
attracts both general readers and specialists from across the humanities.


UTQ Online includes a comprehensive archive of current and previously
published articles going back to 2001 and including the Annual Letters in
Canada issues. Subscribers to UTQ Online enjoy:


Enhanced features not available in the print version - supplementary
information, colour photos, videos, audio files, etc. encouraging further
exploration and research.


Early access to the latest issues - Did you know that most online issues are
available to subscribers up to two weeks in advance of the print version?
Sign up for e-mail alerts and you will know as soon as the latest issue is
ready for you to read.


Access in the office, at home and "on the go" - experience everything UTQ
Online has to offer from your desktop and mobile devices.


Everything you need at your fingertips - search through current and archived
issues from the comfort of your office chair not by digging through book
shelves or storage boxes. The easy to use search function allows you to
organize results by article summaries, abstracts or citations and bookmark,
export, or print a specific page, chapter or article.


For more information, please contact

University of Toronto Press  Journals Division

5201 Dufferin St., Toronto, ON    Canada M3H 5T8

Tel: (416) 667-7810 Fax: (416) 667-7881

email:  <mailto:journals at utpress.utoronto.ca> journals at utpress.utoronto.ca

 <http://www.utpjournals.com/utq> www.utpjournals.com/utq

 <http://www.facebook.com/utpjournals> www.facebook.com/utpjournals    

 <http://www.twitter.com/utpjournals> www.twitter.com/utpjournals


posted by T Hawkins, University of Toronto Press – Jour

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.richmond.edu/pipermail/milton-l/attachments/20130610/4de90ae8/attachment-0001.html>

More information about the Milton-L mailing list