Approaching Anxiety: Reading Eden Robinson in an Era of Reconciliation
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This project seeks to account for the ways in which Anglo-settler anxiety has influenced the construction of the mythos of a benevolent Canadian national identity. I argue that settler anxiety toward Indigeneity is the underlying affective condition of Canadian Anglo-settler society, and continues to inform contemporary reconciliation politics. My thesis proceeds by questioning the role that this collective feeling of anxiety has played in the construction of Canada’s reconciliatory politics. To what extent has this anxiety motivated Canada’s reconciliation project? How does the current structure of the reconciliation process alleviate this anxiety rather than confront it? My thesis will wager that the provocation of settler anxieties by Indigenous artists — and the mobilization of those anxieties in popular discourse—has the potential to reveal the inadequacies of dominant understandings of a teleological reconciliation project in Canada and thereby re-politicize the reconciliation process. Specifically, I look to Haisla writer Eden Robinson’s fiction to examine how Robinson’s novel Monkey Beach and her short story “Terminal Avenue” exemplify an alternative approach to Canada’s reconciliation project through their provocation and textual representations of settler anxiety.
URI for this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/1974/23735
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