My Canadian Literature class this year is supposed to be dealing with the construction of identities, specifically in terms in of a Canadian 'national identity.' (See the Laura Secord post down the way). According to the syllabus, we will be considering our national identity in terms of the global village, but also in how it was constructed by history, by art and by culture.
This is the theoretical version of what we're doing, and I remain somewhat uncertain as to how exactly this relates to what we've actually been doing. It creates a fortuitous complement to my Canadian history class, in which we are studying very much the same thing, though from a primarily historical perspective. My creative writing prof last year once quipped that, "All Canadian literature is simply sex and suicide." It isn't quite that simple, but there is certainly a grain of truth in it. What makes Canadian literature so intrinsically Canadian, not simply French or British or North American? Can there be said to be something that is common to the Canadian experience that influences the way we perceive ourselves? (Joe Canadian, anyone?) I want to know what makes Canadian literature different from other post-Colonial literatures.
Unfortunately, I'm probably not going to get there this year.