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Ephemeral Territories

Representing Nation, Home, and Identity in Canada

2003
Author:

Erin Manning

Ephemeral Territories

Explores questions of identity and belonging through the lens of Canadian cultural production

Ephemeral Territories weaves together narratives and representations of Canadian identity—from political philosophy and cultural theory to art and films—to develop and complicate familiar views of identity and selfhood. In a critical engagement with notions of territory, identity, racial difference, separatism, multiculturalism, and homelessness, Manning delves into the question of what it means to be at home in Canada.

Eloquent and very well written, Ephemeral Territories is on the cutting edge of engagement with political theory.

Simon Dalby, author of Environmental Security

What does it mean to be at home? In a critical engagement with notions of territory, identity, racial difference, separatism, multiculturalism, and homelessness, this book delves into the question of what it means to belong—in particular, what it means to be at home in Canada. Ephemeral Territories weaves together many narratives and representations of Canadian identity—from political philosophy and cultural theory to art and films such as Srinivas Krishna’s Lulu, Clement Virgo’s Rude, and Charles Biname’s Eldorado—to develop and complicate familiar views of identity and selfhood.

Canadian identity has historically been linked to a dual notion of culture traceable to the French and English strains of Canada’s colonial past. Erin Manning subverts this binary through readings that shift our attention from nationalist constructions of identity and territory to a more radical and pluralizing understanding of the political. As she brings together issues specific to Canada (such as Quebec separatism and Canadian landscape painting) and concerns that are more transnational (such as globalization and immigration), Manning emphasizes the truly cross-cultural nature of the problems of racism, gender discrimination, and homelessness. Thus this impassioned reading of Canadian texts also makes an important contribution to philosophical, cultural, and political discourses across the globe.

Ephemeral Territories

Erin Manning teaches in the Department of Communications and Art History at McGill University.

Ephemeral Territories

Eloquent and very well written, Ephemeral Territories is on the cutting edge of engagement with political theory.

Simon Dalby, author of Environmental Security

When I review books, I underline key concepts, pity expressions and provocative concepts. But this time, I have confused myself: there are too many underlinings! Erin Manning has provided us with a truly innovative thesis that challenges the ‘familiar contours of the discourse of the nation-state’ and seeks a ‘multicultural poly-democracy’ that moves beyond the strict enclosures of sovereignty and national identity.

Canadian Geographer

Ephemeral Territories is worth the effort it demands.

Canadian Literature

Ephemeral Territories

Contents

Preface: Unmoored
Acknowledgments

Introduction. Close to Home: Canadian Identity, Nationalism, and Errant Politics

1. An Excess of Seeing: Territorial Imperatives in Canadian Landscape Art
2. Beyond Accommodation: National Space and Recalcitrant Bodies
3. Where the Zulu Meets the Mohawk
4. Face-to-Face with the Incommensurable: Srinivas Krishna’s Lulu
5. Dwelling within the Language of the Other

Conclusion: Water from the Rock

Notes
Bibliography

Index