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Comparing Canada and the Americas

From Roots to Transcultural Networks

Patrick Imbert

Comparing Canada and the Americas: From Roots to Transcultural Networks covers the Americas in a comparative perspective spanning from the 19th century to the 21st century. It explores socio-cultural dynamics changing considerably in the Americas, which are progressively shedding their original fascination for Europe and slowly recognizing the importance of Indigenous, Afro-descendants, and immigrant cultures. The Americas have many dynamics in common, such as the presence of shared dualistic paradigms, like civilization/barbarism, which is a synonym for self/others. From the invention of the Nation States to globalization, the valorization of taking roots has transformed into the valorization of the legitimacy of geo-symbolic displacements. A comparative study of Canada, Quebec, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the USA reveals both the exclusions and the inclusions that, in literary, artistic, and media productions as well as political essays, are founded on the opposition between interior and exterior. The current era has seen the displacement of these oppositions within the context of the recognition of the others. This recognition is rooted in multicultural, intercultural, and transcultural perspectives. In the current networked and complex contemporary world, literary, artistic, political, and media texts go beyond dichotomous oppositions and historical master narratives legitimating exclusions. Instead, they valorize "chameleoning" and the surprise of encounters with different cultures, thus creating new perspectives linked to a techno-cultural and democratic future based on the desire to share and to belong to oneself.

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Chapter 1. The Invention of Nation-States and Founding Paradigms: Exterior/Interior as a Synonym for Barbarism/Civilization



The Invention of Nation-States and Founding Paradigms

Exterior/Interior as a Synonym for Barbarism/Civilization

Canada and Its Inter-American Ties

Indeed, were I to engage in a genuine comparative study of cultures, it would not be the United States and Canada, or Canada and Australia, or Québec and the Transvaal that I would examine most closely: it would be Canada and Argentina.1

Despite previous assertions, the historical ties that have developed over the centuries between the Americas2 should not be overlooked; in particular the connections between Canada and Latin America long perceived as insignificant. In fact, the vast majority of research on the Americas is devoted to relations with Europe: relationships emerging from rejection and withdrawal or else from continuity and imitation. Naturally, these perspectives will not be dismissed. It is important to note, however, that the study of inter-American ties (therefore excluding Europe) is still fairly new from a historical point of view, except for that of the relationship between Canada and the United States. This situation is evident in Continental Divide3 by Seymour Martin Lipset and in The Canadian Identity by W.L. Morton, in which the four chapters are entitled “Canada in America,” “Canada in the Commonwealth,” “Canada and the United States” and “The Relevance of Canadian History.”4 Howev←1 | 2→er, there are several historical avenues helping to explore the relationship between English Canada, French Canada and the Americas because of England’s strong economic, financial and...

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