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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 3. The Contemporary Intercultural, Multicultural, and Transcultural Dynamics



The Contemporary Intercultural, Multicultural, and Transcultural Dynamics

Le véritable lieu de naissance est celui où l’on a porté, pour la première fois, un regard d’étranger sur soi-même: mes premières patries ont été des terres étrangères. J’ai aimé ces rapports étrangement élusifs, étrangement intimes qui existent entre un homme et des terres chaudes dont il est dépossédé pour miser ses efforts sur des terres promises, désormais objet de son désir.1

Transcultural Citizenship

Pico Iyer evokes the loss of benchmarks as the positive side of the invention of new perspectives by giving as an example his journey migrating from England to Canada, and highlighting that what attracts him is the multifold and hybrid side of Canada.2 It is interesting to note that Pico Iyer controls, like many contemporary writers, the art of recycling as defined by Jencks in his study of the postmodern world.3 For example, he claims that Toronto, according to the United-Nations’ report, is the most multicultural city on the planet and, at the same time, statistically the safest in North America as well as one of the better organized ones. He adds: “And you could believe that a multi-culture←125 | 126→ could go beyond the states we knew and give a new meaning to that outdated term, the ‘Commonwealth.’”4

One must not forget that one of the architects of the multicultural recognition in Canada in the context...

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