Global designs, postcolonial critiques: rethinking Canada in dialogue with diaspora

Diana Brydon


This paper approaches the comparative examination of Brazil and Canada in the context of engagements with postcolonial theory obliquely, rather than directly, through reframing the comparison within the contexts posed by Paul Gilroy in The Black Atlantic, and by contemporary globalization theories and indigenous global activism, when considered through a postcolonial lens. Accepting John Tomlinson’s idea (in Globalization and Culture) that the “complex connectivities” of globalizing practices and discourses “confound” conventional social science practices, this paper suggests that literary
texts that engage these issues may enjoy an advantage in negotiating such complexities. But it also argues that new configurations of diaspora and globalization offer writers and readers the chance to shift literature away from its conventional constructions as both autonomous and
transcendent, on the one hand, and nation-affirming, on the other. Through a close comparative reading of Okanagan writer Jeannette Armstrong’s novel, Whispering in Shadows, and Caribbean-Canadian Nalo Hopkinson’s utopian science fiction, Brown Girl in the Ring, I seek to model a postcolonial reading practice attentive to cultural difference and global challenges. Each story addresses colonial legacies
and global designs through the reconstruction of a relational autonomy that redefines humanity and community through re-energizing beliefs and practices abandoned under colonial modernity. Each text challenges mainstream models for mapping Canadian identity and its place within the Americas. They work to break the illusion of Western progress that fuels contemporary globalization and to redefine global
connectivities from within the perspectives of formerly subjugated knowledge systems and a local ground.


Postcolonialism; Globalization; intercultural studies


Copyright (c) 2001 Diana Brydon

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.