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Intercultural Crossings

Conflict, Memory and Identity

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Edited By Lénia Marques, Maria Sofia Pimentel Biscaia and Glória Bastos

Intercultural crossings, which are at the core of our contemporary society, are underpinned and shaped by three essential elements: time, space and people. Such encounters and interactions have the capacity not only to promote diversity and a healthy exchange of ideas, but also to act as a catalyst for conflict.
This volume examines the topics of conflict, memory and identity through a collection of insightful viewpoints and perspectives, reflecting a diversity of cultural and social backgrounds, which combine to give a contemporary interdisciplinary analysis of cultural interactions and their effects. The themes covered by the authors, such as memory and forgetfulness, migration, ecological concerns, mixed cultural landscapes, storytelling, postcolonial trauma and internal struggles for identity, offer the reader a fascinating glimpse into the ongoing and evolving social debate about identity and purpose.

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“The Heaviness of a History that Couldn’t Leave”:Diasporic Trauma in Multicultural Canada 67 - Belén Martín-Lucas

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67 “The Heaviness of a History that Couldn’t Leave” Diasporic Trauma in Multicultural Canada Belén MARTÍN-LUCAS Universidade de Vigo David Chariandy’s novel Soucouyant (2007) narrates the effort to remember and record the devastating effects of colonial legacies and neocolonial practices on the psyches of a Trinidanian migrant couple and their mixed-race sons. Set in multicultural suburban Scarborough (Toronto, Canada) in 1989 – the year immediately following the passing of the Multiculturalism Act – Chariandy’s text craftily weaves intersec- ting threads of race, gender, class and age that paradoxically separate but also link the characters in a “diasporic haunting”. This term refers to the often unconscious anxieties of second-generation racialized youths about the hidden secrets in their parents’ past in “the old country”, a past they openly reject but that inevitably has a strong impact on their lives. This chapter proposes an analysis of Soucouyant as a critique of Canadian neoliberal discourses on multiculturalism, paying special attention to the uneasy construction of diasporic identities under the weight of “the heaviness of a history that couldn’t leave” (Chariandy, 2007a: 115). The novel constitutes a profound exploration of what Chariandy himself has identified as core themes of his work: “generational identity and cultural dilemma” (Dobson and Chariandy, 2007: 810). Chariandy’s novel is subtitled “a novel of forgetting”. It opens with a first scene that subtly locates the characters in a precise time (“the same wildlife calendar with the moose of September 1987, now two years out of date”) and space (“a good part...

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