In transit: aspects of transculturalism in Janice Kulyk Keefer's travels
1996 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Transculturalism refers to how cultural barriers are transcended and how cultures meet. Because the transcultural perspective reflects hitherto unrepresented spaces, it revises and innovates literary canons. This study investigates aspects of transculturalism in texts dealing with travel by the Canadian writer Janice Kulyk Keefer. It also explores how these aspects might alter our view of Canadian literature. The transcultural perspectives between mainstream Canada and Ukraine, Europe and Acadie have been analysed through three tropes of travel: departure, passage and arrival.
Keefer’s texts have been read in accordance with Mikhail Bakhtin's dialogic theories to chart transcultural encounters and clashes. This thesis argues that a historic consciousness of their ethnic group gives the young generation a transcultural position that enables them to profit from their dual cultural competence. Although Imagined Communities are affirmed as receptacles of the cultural heritage, the impending environmental catastrophe demands that the national interests that they represent be abandoned for international co-operation. In Keefer’s European texts the transcultural aspects reflect how travel becomes synonymous with quests and epiphanies. Travelling is described as a learning process in Rest Harrow where the protagonist’s increasing cultural competence changes her from a tourist to a real traveller.
The transcultural aspects also unmask prejudices, collisions and failed transitions. In this context Imagined Communities are criticized as agents of the colonial discourse, chauvinism, and intolerance. The transcultural perspective also reveals that patriarchal paradigms and the silencing of persecutions victimize the young generation. Furthermore, their ignorance of the mother tongue works as a linguistic barrier shutting them out from their ethnic group. Keefer's Acadian texts support Bakhtin's contention that isolated groups become intolerant to strangers and deviants. While the transcultural perspective unmasks tourists' perception of other countries as idiosyncratic, also the travellers' own ironic postmodernist view of themselves as tourists and of the artificiality of tourism is featured.
The cultural assumptions of literary discourse are challenged by border blurring phenomena such as story-telling, the camivalesque, intertextuality and historiographic metafiction. Thus the morality of Keefer's transcultural approach lies also in her literary technique. The alternative perspective inherent in transculturalism makes individuals break away from their given cultural context to embrace a new transcultural ethos.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 1996. , 182 p.
Umeå studies in the humanities, ISSN 0345-0155 ; 130
transculturalism, ethnicity, the postcolonial discourse, travels, tourism, imagology, Imagined Communities, environment, Bakhtin's dialogic theories, cultural studies
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-111104ISBN: 91-7191-211-8OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-111104DiVA: diva2:868764
1996-09-14, Humanisthuset, hörsal F, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:15
Spånberg, Sven-Johan, professor
Diss. Umeå : Umeå universitet, 19962015-11-112015-11-052015-11-11Bibliographically approved