Winner of the English Book Award, Grand Prix du Livre 2006 de la Ville de Sherbrooke.
In this original and groundbreaking study, Winfried Siemerling examines the complexities of recognition and identity, rejecting previous nationalized thinking to approach North American cultural transformations from transnational and interdisciplinary perspectives.
Using material from the United States and Canada as case studies and drawing on a wide range of texts and theorists, he examines postcoloniality and cultural emergence from the sixties to the present against earlier backgrounds. Siemerling's argument for a retheorization of the field takes on the full history of multiculturalism debates, including radical readings of W.E.B. Du Bois and Charles Taylor and their relation to G.W.F. Hegel, and challenging many of the models of multiculturalism in use today.
Tackling controversial subjects such as identity politics, The New North American Studies proposes a fresh outlook on the most central issues of North American cultural politics, from debates on canon formation to the role of racial and linguistic difference. Concluding with a look at the future of cultural difference, Winfried Siemerling's study is an innovative rethinking of the whole field of North American Studies.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction 2. Comparative North American literary history, alterity, and a hermenuitics of non-transcendence 3. W.E.B. Du Bois, Hegel, and the staging of alterity 4. Double consciousness, African American tradition, and the vernacular: Henry Louis Gates and Houston Baker 5. Native writing, orality, and anti-imperial translation: Thomas King and Gerald Vizenor 6. Genealogies of difference
'Winfried Siemerling's The New North American Studies offers a fresh, critical analysis of the major figures and trends in US and Canadian criticism of the multicultural era.' - Werner Sollors, Harvard University
'This is a serious rethinking of American Studies in both method and content. It moves the debates about multi-culturalism and canon formation in exciting new directions.' - Linda Hutcheon, University of Toronto
'Winfried Siemerling's exciting New North American Studies shows what a spatial hermeneutics can do when applied to certain literary and cultural inquiry: This marvelous book starts with a demarcation of the cognitive maps that frame the "New World" and the Continent of "North America" and elaborates the resources of these conceptual elements across the fields of contention that situate the emergent cultures of diasporic modernity. Its emphasis on location and relational articulations across topographical networks offers one of the first systematic comparative readings of the muti-cultures and languages of North America. A shot across the bow, it reconfigures our entire notion of an "Americas" studies.' - Hortense Spillers, Cornell University
"...an important new contribution to discussions of dialogism and alterity in relation to postcolonial and racial identity, and the critical distinctions made here are clear and precise." - University of Toronto Quarterly
"Siemerling's work is a valuable resource to those interested in ethnicity, identity, cultural studies, and multiculturalism in the context of North America, and it is unique in its examination of the specific Canadian situation, juxtaposing both multiculturalism and bilingualism."
-Peruvemba S. Jaya, Department of Communication, University of Ottawa