This chapter focuses on books published in the field of multiculturalism/multicultural studies primarily in 2005. In November 2006 the Australian newspaper carried a report which said that the ‘Howard Government is looking to scrap the word ‘multiculturalism’ as part of a major revamp of ethnic policy’. The emphasis on scrapping the word multiculturalism is crucial here for the report goes on to state that the Howard Government is also looking for ‘alternative words to describe how ethnic communities harmoniously integrate into Australian society’. The ‘de facto’ minister responsible for Multiculturalism in Australia, parliamentary secretary Andrew Robb (there is no formal ministry for multiculturalism) in fact did not renew the membership of the members of the government-appointed Council of Multicultural Australia when their terms of office expired in June. He gives some interesting reasons. First, there is the matter of ‘all the Muslim issues’. Second, ‘[the term multiculturalism] means all things to all men and all women … the term is not often helpful’. At this point the reporter Cath Hart states it is important to acknowledge that the shift in Government attitude towards multiculturalism comes ‘less than 12 months before the next election (due around November 2007) and follows the Cronulla riots and the comments of Australian mufti Taj Din al-Hilali that women who do not wear veils provoked men to rape them’. Among terms which have been bandied about, even by former members of the Council, are ‘multiculturalism II’ and ‘integration policy’. The significance of this preamble to our survey of the field in 2005 lies in the two issues isolated by the parliamentary secretary. The question of ‘Muslim issues’ is now at the heart of multiculturalism as no matter where we turn, multicultural policy is now not so much a matter of diversity and its expression within white nation states (the home of the policy) but a matter of what to do with the ever-increasing Muslim presence within the so-called multicultural polity. And then there is the matter of a definition of multiculturalism which may be formulated as ‘what are the limits to multiculturalism especially when the common ground is slipping away?’ The multicultural bibliography for 2005 is increasingly aware of this unease in nation states. Roger Hewitt's book White Backlash takes up a general unease with multicultural policies in the context of three racially motivated murders in Greenwich (England) in the 1990s. The argument is summed up early in the book as follows: Racist and distorted as it may seem, rather than widespread sympathy with the black murder victims Rolan Adams (killed in 1991), Rohit Duggal (killed in 1992) and Stephen Lawrence [killed in 1993], the white responses on a number of public housing estates in Greenwich were unrelentingly defensive and unsympathetic. (p. 2) The distortion that Hewitt refers to is readily evident in the ways in which outright condemnation of murders (racially motivated or not) is overtaken by an assault on multicultural practices themselves. The argument here being that the root causes of the murders were not acts of criminality but a consequence of divisive policies which began to produce a white underclass who were also, presumably, unable to come to terms with a new social order where many of that class's securities were threatened. ‘The opposition to multiculturalism’, writes Hewitt, ‘was evident in ideological argument, political activity and popular local issues, sometimes melding all of these’ (p. 3). The tragedy of the three deaths brought to light deep-seated unease with affirmative action in higher education and employment; it demonstrated fear of a new order in which a working class ill-prepared for the challenges posed by globalization and a more skills-based job market found themselves threatened. The strength of the book lies as well in Hewitt's account of the ways in which the Greenwich murders arose out of a tension between liberal faith in a culturally neutral world and a neo-conservative intellectual backlash against this new liberalism, the power brokers of which were now a ‘new class’ made up of a coalition not of lower class black and whites but militant blacks and ‘white intellectual elites’ (p. 14). On the estates in Greenwich, far away from the real debates about class and race, murders most foul became items that entered into a different kind of extra-juridical discourse. The latter, a politics of multiculturalism, is at the centre of the book which then traces via immediate responses to murders by people in the borough of Greenwich, the recent history of black and coloured migration to Britain, in particular from Commonwealth countries. In tracing this history, Hewitt intelligently weaves into the fabric of his narrative key moments such as the rise of ‘Enoch Powell in the 1960s’ and Thatcherism. The conclusion that he arrives at in trying to explain a regressive and phylogenetic defence of racist acts is a lot more abstract and not reducible simply to the fear of loss of jobs or competition for state housing. An underclass swamped by middle class values and alienated from a taken-for-granted sense of Britishness (which the new class had now redefined and had become comfortable with) transforms criminal acts as responses to a social order which no longer made sense. For, at the heart of the experience of multiculturalism, is a new liberal middle class very much at ease, because for that class multiculturalism is of the ‘boutique’ variety. It is ‘immediate political history’, not necessarily deep-seated racism, which accounts for the ease with which the murders were recoded as something other than evil acts. Writes Hewitt: As was apparent in Greenwich, on any local political battleground what becomes characterized as ‘multiculturalism’ depends more on the immediate political history of an event than on the value of any underlying argument. (p. 152) The immediate political history of the ‘events’ in Greenwich thus shadows multiculturalism and the backlash these engendered is not an isolated response. For backlash responses arise out of real or perceived threats, and often these are inseparable from how the press and politicians handle what is now seen as the normative status of multiculturalism. As a movement, dynamism seems to have disappeared from multiculturalism as there is a greater push, in Europe and in white settler nations at any rate, for a ‘national culture’ in place of ‘cultural particularisms’ (pp. 154–5). Backlash though is here to stay. The pursuit of common cultures is a dream, this much is acknowledged. What follows then is ‘the pursuit of a common framework of interaction and justice’ especially in societies which are diverse. Difference and particularisms give way to shared values which can be arrived at through debate and consensus. These values though, one suspects, cannot be divorced from precisely those principles of the Enlightenment which have been part of European modernity. Having said that, backlash responses will always be there for it doesn't take long for a group to begin to feel that its definition of the nation state is slipping by. The links between postcolonial studies and multiculturalism (and also diaspora) are raised in a number of essays, all of a consistently high standard, collected in the Ania Loomba et al edited Postcolonial Studies and Beyond . Indeed, in their Introduction the editors claim: ‘the volume presents several critical takes on the problematic intersections between the assumptions and practices associated with the term multiculturalism and those associated with the term postcolonial ’ (p. 5). The intersections lead to debates about the models used for the study of either and it is indeed these models, especially after Hardt and Negri's widely read globalization thesis in their book Empire , which give short shrift to what Hardt and Negri consider as primarily postmodern and highly fluid readings at the heart of postcolonial theory. The Hardt and Negri thesis argues that a new form of globalization now deconstructs the old idea of ‘Empire’ and since we now have an Empire without a centre, to consider the centre in terms of a nation state (here America) must therefore be false. The thesis has strength well beyond its content as the language in which it is crafted is highly persuasive, functioning almost like a soporific as one reads the book. The point is understood very clearly in a particularly strong essay in the volume which I wish to examine now. The essay is by Vilashini Cooppan and it is appropriately titled ‘The Ruins of Empire: The National and Global Politics of America's Return to Rome’. Cooppan's claim is that the retention of the nation as a category of analysis (which multicultural theory continues to do, as it has to) does not lead to the disavowal of the global. Responding to Negri and Hardt's central thesis (‘In this smooth space of Empire, there is no place of power—it is both everywhere and nowhere. Empire is an ou -topia, or really a non-place’ (p. 91)) Cooppan points out how within the interstices of this ‘non- place’ in fact resides the certainty of the place, which is America. Through a fascinating analysis of Conrad's disturbing Heart of Darkness and Ridley Scott's film Gladiator , she shows how the latter, even as it constructs a simulacral Rome and North Africa, which as ‘hypertexts’, therefore, are not locatable in realist terms, indeed becomes an allegory of the ‘global reach’ of America. The film, in other words, simultaneously reinforces the decentred and global nature of power and at the same time locates it within one particular node. Not intellectually as strong as Cooppan's essay but of greater relevance to this survey of the year's work on multiculturalism is Robert Stam and Ella Shohat's essay ‘Travelling Multiculturalism: A Trinational Debate in Translation’. Their essay begins with two key words, ‘multiculturalism’ and ‘postcolonialism’ on both of which the writers have written quite extensively elsewhere. Their value as providing a critique of ‘Eurocentrism, racism, and colonial discourse’ (p. 293) are acknowledged. But these terms, argue Stam and Shohat, have different locations and indeed the discourses surrounding them actually have different meanings in different countries and languages. Using three key ‘sites’—the United States, France and Brazil—Stam and Shohat ‘think through cultural and political questions in terms that transcend the narrow confines of the nation-state’ (p. 294). They give examples of how debates about multiculturalism, for instance, are framed in discourses which are not necessarily commensurable with each other. And these differences are even more marked when the languages of the discourses differ. For instance when, as it often happens, multiculturalism in France is translated as communautarisme (communitarianism), what is seen in English as a policy of engagement among equals gets transformed into a category of ethnic exclusion or difference. The fact of multiculturalism may also differ in the way in which it is envisaged as a project. And it is as a ‘project’ that differences in points of view across nations emerge most forthrightly. To transcend the shifting valencies of the word ‘multiculturalism’ across nation-states, Stam and Shohat suggest ‘the issue of multiculturalism must be articulated together with issues of colonial history and Eurocentric discourse, or run the risk of being inoffensively pluralist and politically irrelevant’ (p. 296). In other words, the multicultural project as seen in the three countries which form the object of their analysis, requires an analytic fuelled by an uncompromising and clear-sighted principle, a principle conscious of the pervasiveness of the Eurocentric world view, which stipulates that it is only from Euro-America that virtues/ideals of democracy and liberalism flow. For Stam and Shohat a critical commentary can have force and value only when it acknowledges the degree to which the world is under a Eurocentric epistemological slavery. Of course, what the central argument of these writers overlooks is the degree to which, especially in America, so many non-European migrants have absorbed and internalized precisely the ‘Eurocentric’ values for which America stands condemned. And in many diasporas too there is a conscious alignment of individual diasporic communities with the Eurocentric ideals rather than with a radical interrogation of those ideals through inter-diasporic coalitions. There is also the matter of critical attitudes towards powerful nations. This surfaces forcefully in comparisons that Stam and Shohat make between racial politics in the United States and Brazil. By all accounts blacks, mullatos and mestizos are poorly represented in the academy, the civil service, business, the police force and the army. They are over represented in prisons and in the ranks of the Brazilian unemployed. They suffer from police brutality which is only remotely comparable to police brutality against blacks in the United States. Yet whereas a single instance of such brutality in the US (unpardonable as it is in a civil society) results in an international outcry, the same brutality, multiplied many times in Brazil, goes unremarked. Is this because the US is considered a civilized society and Brazil is not? And if this indeed is so, then does it not follow that, negatively, we are imputing to the West a morality higher than what we expect from non-western nations? The readings of Eurocentrism that Stam and Shohat offer (readings which have been for some years the centre of their collaborative research) have built into them a major flaw: they reflect values as much attributed to the West by the non-West as they arise from racist principles of superiority from within. To think through multiculturalism across languages, cultures and nation states perhaps requires thinking through a different kind of non-western complicity and culpability, one in which non-western peoples have their own investments. David A. Hollinger's widely-read Postethnic America was reissued in 2000 with a Postscript. In 2005 a new edition appeared with yet another Postscript. The relative frequency with which these Postscripts have appeared as well as the impact of the book when first published in 1995 indicates well beyond the intrinsic merit of the book the fact that multicultural theory has a vast critical bibliography. In the wake of the hugely popular Roots in which Alex Haley traced his racial roots back to Gambia, Hollinger wrote what became a widely read and heavily referenced book. The book effectively thought through an irresolvable contradiction in American society where a national ideology of nonethnicity conflicts with an obsession with ethnic history. For, in the case of Alex Haley's Roots , the questions raised are: ‘Why Haley's other bloodline, that is through his father, which would have taken his roots to Ireland, is not equally legitimate?’ ‘Why is it that a single drop of non-white blood limits one's freedom to redefine one's ethnicity?’ Wrote Hollinger, ‘The persistence of the ‘one-drop rule’ deprives those with any hint of black skin of any choice in their ethno-racial affiliation’ (p. 27). By 2000, as Hollinger, acknowledged in his 2000 Postscript, ‘the debate over multiculturalism changed rapidly during the next five years’ (p. 173) as debates about identity politics (the centre of Hollinger's book) were replaced by ‘discussions of cosmopolitanism, nationalism, globalization, diasporas, the concept of race, and the legal rights of cultural minorities’ (p. 173). At this juncture he offers a defence of his own thesis that colour and culture are linked and they do have historical depth and considerable power. Hollinger is clearly referring to the ways in which multicultural theory began to look upon race and colour as social formations which, with a more finessed attitude towards them especially in the wake of the collapse of the idea of the exclusive nation state created out of one dominant narrative, suggested that ethnicity had to be discussed without recourse to skin and race. Ethno-racial distinctions have remained and they continue to define subjectivities. In this respect even with its ‘Americocentric’ bias, Hollinger wishes to declare that Postethnic America is a book which has as its greater aim the ‘project of liberating human selves from the color-coded prisons in which they have been locked by “time's blood-rusted key”’ (p. 218). That was in 2000. Is there a shift in the 2005 Postscript after another five years of multicultural writing on the subject? Postscript 2000 was titled ‘Culture, Color, and solidarity’. Postscript 2005 has a different inflection as it is titled ‘Ethnoracial Mixing and Economic Segregation’. It strikes the author that in 2005 his original thesis is more widely acceptable than was the case in 2000. Whereas the 2000 Postscript is anecdotally apologetic, the 2005 Postscript, in a lot more forthright manner, declares that the thesis of Postethnic America has now been given something of a normative status. Its central argument—‘that individuals ought to be encouraged to decide just how much of their own energies are to be devoted to their communities of descent’—now has considerable force since current multicultural theory feels uneasy about endorsing the principle of asking people to stipulate their ethno-racial identities. This, argues Hollinger, is no longer the mantra of the day. This part of the retrospect needs to be quoted in full. The multiculturalism of the 1990s carried the deeply anti-individualist, anti-voluntarist expectation that individuals would naturally accept the cultural, social, and political habits popularly ascribed to their communities of descent, rather than form their own associations to the extent that their life-circumstances permitted choices. Important theoretical treatises by Kwame Anthony Appiah, Seyla Benhabib, Rogers Brubaker, Amy Gutmann, John Lie, Rogers Smith, and others have defended descent-defined solidarities, not as natural consequences of human difference but in their capacity as chosen instruments for political action and social support. (p. 220) The book is unabashedly American in scope and the constraints of multiculturalism which Hollinger examines arise out of the American experience. Nonetheless, the old arguments in favour of policies directly linked to colour and ‘descent groups’ are far less durable today given the extent to which denizens are marrying out of their racial communities. What Hollinger referred to as the ‘ethnoracial pentagon’, which effectively slotted all Americans into five dominant racial groupings, now require dismantling through an examination of individuals who refuse to belong to this ‘pentagon’. The right to choose, the right to build solidarities without any form of explicit or implicit coercion is fundamental to the robust working of a democratic nation state. In America, it is suggested that a post-9/11 world order is less willing to endorse these freedoms and more willing to encourage once again religious or group affiliations for fear that the nation state may be accused of returning to an old essentialism. It is, however, the duty of the nation state to be above these accusations. Much of multicultural theory deals with modern nation states caught in the web of late twentieth-century migration, and especially migration from postcolonial nations. There had been earlier migrations, what could be referred to as migrations to colonies either as slaves or indenture/coolie labourers. These migrants, part of an era before multiculturalism created theories of self-enclosed societies within nation states, continue to thrive today. In Gayatri Gopinath's fascinating study of queer diasporas and South Asian public cultures ( Impossible Desires ) we get a glimpse into this earlier migration. I want to focus on her reading of non-heteronormative sexuality with reference to a queer diasporic subject at the centre of her analysis. And more specifically I want to focus on her reading of Shani Mootoo's novel Cereus Blooms at Night . In reading this novel, Gopinath writes a commentary about other multicultural nations, such as Trinidad, which do not figure in discussions about multiculturalism. What is therefore not stated is the legacy of indenture in this instance (in much the same way in which the legacy of slavery is often erased in multicultural theory) and the ways in which this erased narrative finds expression in the domain of literature. It is the legacy of Indian immigration at a time when the world was not global. That legacy had its own ways of silencing queer, non-heteronormative bodies and the ‘violence perpetuated by Indian men against Indian women’ (p.180). Indeed, as Gopinath argues, Mootoo's novel reminds us of the ways in which multicultural communities disciplined the female body, how female lesbian sexuality was curtailed and how they were condemned if not seen to uphold the kind of domestic idyll required by men. The life of Mala, the abused protagonist in the novel, is an attempt to escape from a totalizing logic of a community where patriarchal norms were self-evidently prioritized. Gopinath's brilliant analysis of this novel (among the very best on the subject) therefore has a message well beyond its effect as literary criticism for what it does is bring into debates about multiculturalism communities outside of western nation states (the self-evident crucible of multiculturalism). A more schematic account of the ways in which a particular migrant group has come to terms with multiculturalism may be seen in Kamala Elizabeth Nayar's informed account of the Sikh diaspora in Canada ( The Sikh Diaspora in Vancouver ). It is a comprehensive account of the history of this diaspora and contains information of value to scholars working in the field. For purposes of this survey it is the placement of the Sikh diaspora in the general context of Canadian multiculturalism which is of value. The question asked by Nayar is: ‘How has a ‘predominantly traditional Sikh community’ come to terms with Canada's official policy of multiculturalism?’ At one level the official policy has led to the establishment of Sikh schools, to a plaque commemorating the Komagata Maru incident, to the amendment of dress codes so as to allow turbaned Sikhs to join the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, to the formal recognition of Baisakhi (a Punjabi festival) in British Columbia, and so on. The policy has also given rise to Sikh multicultural organizations, to the growth of Sikh ethnic media (newspapers, radio, television) and to a general move away from first generation values based on exclusive kinship loyalties and communal norms such as the perceived honour ( izzat ) of a family to the reconstruction of a Punjabi ‘home’ within a multicultural Canada. The second generation, suggests Nayar, ‘have largely adapted themselves to the universalistic institutions of a modern society. Yet for the most part, they have not been able to take on that society's corresponding value system, including features such as universalism’ (p. 200). As for multiculturalism more precisely, this generation sees it as ‘endorsing Punjabi culture’. It has had positive effects in that it has moved mainstream Canadians away from a policy of assimilation to a policy of accepting ethnic difference provided that difference of itself does not become the over-riding principle. Even so, Nayar refers to a not uncommon unease about multiculturalism which she captures in the words of a social worker she interviewed for her book. The social worker said: Multiculturalism is fine to a certain degree but it is reinforcing racism … we have placed too much emphasis on multiculturalism. It reinforces racist views on both sides—the English Canadians and the ethnic communities … . Multiculturalism has created the notion [that] we have to accept the other cultures, but there is no understanding of either culture or how people adapt. (p. 203) Second generation Sikhs, it seems, are more ambiguously located both in terms of their location in the nation state and in terms of their definition via a state-endorsed multicultural policy. The third generation, Nayar concludes from her researches, feel constrained both by the ‘Punjabi community in Canada and by Canada's multiculturalism policy’ (p. 230). They speak of living in a ‘Punjabi bubble’ which makes it hard for them to create selves based not so much on a collective identity but on identities created out of a ‘non-ethnic’ Canadianness. In other words, this generation pleads for more interaction with mainstream Canada and a redefinition of themselves simply as ‘Canadian’ (as opposed to say ‘Indo-Canadian’). Nayar's own conclusion at this juncture is useful: In the light of the above findings, it would be reckless for policymakers to assume that Canadian-born children want to retain a traditional mentality while living and functioning in a modern society. Indeed, the tensions between the generations reflect a profound conflict between tradition and modernity. (p. 230) The study of specific communities in any bibliography on multiculturalism is very useful even if these studies do not offer large theoretical multicultural paradigms. For what this particular work established is that cultures are not static; they are marked by internal divisions, dissensions and generational changes, all of which are factors that affect how individuals and groups within a particular community define themselves. In a similar vein to Nayar's study, but in a different ethnic context, Manoly R. Lupul's The Politics of Multiculturalism located multicultural issues in the history of Ukrainian migration to Canada. This is a large book which effectively traces the history of Ukrainians in Canada by way of a personal autobiography in which, as the narrative proceeds, the author, whose grandparents reached the province of Alberta at the turn of the twentieth century, becomes deeply involved in Canadian multicultural politics. The book has value at two levels. Firstly, through an examination of personal involvement in the nation (as a scholar, as a representative of his community, as a thinker) one gets valuable insights into how a non-visible diaspora engaged with shifts in cultural policy. Secondly, through a much broader perspective, the book locates the engagement of a particular group in the larger context of policies which were to affect all minority groups. The book, therefore, acts both as a confessional narrative (as autobiographies are) and as a cultural document. Lupul's conclusion, written as it is after a period when he feels the vigour and critical vigilance of multiculturalism was on the decline, is worth noting. Whatever multiculturalism may mean (and, as we have seen, the meanings are many), it must not be used by fundamentalists of any racial or ethnocultural background, who see their faith as inseparable from the social governance of their members, to protect traditional illiberal ways. Nor must Third World fundamentalists, in particular, look to the concept of multiculturalism to fight racism while protecting such ways. Racism, of course, is a terrible scourge to be strongly resisted, but multiculturalism is always sullied when it is used (and abused) by anyone to defend illiberal social values and practices. (p. 482) Lupul's conclusion has to be read also in the context of a post-9/11 world as the use of ‘fundamentalism’ and ‘Third World’ (as if only this latter world is prone to fundamentalism) has acquired meanings which are considerably charged. Reading through Lupul's own narrative—which is essentially a celebration of the Ukrainian community in Canada—it is clear that multiculturalism as a creed was something that the community got dragged into when in fact it had functioned quite well as part of an unthreatening Canadian mosaic for almost a century. It could be said that the Ukrainian community in Canada is a thoroughly assimilated community. Unlike Lupul's autobiographical and sprawling work, Jack Glazier's Dispersing the Ghetto , is a more restricted study of the relocation of Jewish immigrants across America. Here too the concluding remarks connect an earlier phobia surrounding Jewish (and other) migration with current American unease about migrants. Although Latin Americans and Asians primarily compose the contemporary immigrant population, the much more numerous Jewish, Italian, and Slavic immigrants of the earlier era were regarded as no less different from American mainstream—a eugenic nightmare for the legion of xenophobic guardians of American purity. For the latter the barbarians were not only at the gates; they had also taken over the cities, and prudence demanded an end to it. Unassimilable aliens from the backward parts of Europe obsessed the nativist imagination of one hundred years ago as it conjured a social apocalypse that never materialized. (p. 180) Prophecies of doom, as Glazier suggests, are with us again in a more strident fashion and multiculturalism, it appears to many, is the discourse within which such prophecies are cast. And in as much as multiculturalism is seen as being a theory and practice of ethnic self-assertion and linguistic and cultural difference, it festishizes these distinctions and perhaps even encourages what Glazier, quoting Freud, says is a ‘narcissism of petty differences’ (p. 189). Still, the ‘transformative power of American institutions’ is such that universal values, the adoption of a common culture and even loyalty to the nation will triumph. Divisive rhetoric, ethnic tribalism, resistance to change, cultural exclusiveness—features which have in some quarters become the markers of a new, defiant multiculturalism—are in fact nothing new. Glazier's archival work on the Jewish experience in America—and a valuable book on its own let me add—indeed establishes that the challenges facing the twenty-first century are nothing new. Indeed the challenge yet again is: to accept differences while standing for the mutual loyalties, values, and obligations of a shared American citizenship, estimable precisely because its rights and guarantees are not dependent on ethnic origin. (p. 191) Of course ‘the debilities of skin color’ complicate the claim to neutrality implicit in the quotation above and nowhere is this clearer than in the case of Americans of African descent for whom slavery and discrimination created a collective view (both from within the community and from outside) that individuals in the Afro-American community were less likely to create cross-cultural affiliations with other ethnic groups not bound to colour and race. In social terms, this is a huge impediment to freedom to associate as individuals. The latter, as collective and individual rights, have shadowed multicultural theory itself for a long time. Glazier's optimistic conclusion—that groups and individuals should ‘be able to lay claim to an American entitlement’ (p. 194)—has built into it a ‘tolerant recognition of differences’ but the recognition is granted in varying degrees and remains a lot more readily available to those who can more easily enter into the grand history of the nation. For Jews and Ukrainians this entry was probably a lot easier, at least in Canada and America. Glazier's conclusions are drawn from a vast array of critical material on multiculturalism even when, given the confined nature of his archive, he uses multicultural bibliography selectively. In a sense where multiculturalism is at globally may be seen in Democracy , Nationalism and Multiculturalism a volume of essays edited by Ramón Máiz and Ferran Requejo. In their Introduction the editors locate redefinitions of democracy, nationalism and multiculturalism with reference to a decisive shift in people's understanding of these terms which began to take shape in the 1970s. The shift in thinking led to a fundamental redefinition of what the nation state stood for and more importantly the extent to which state ideology was monocultural and unidirectional. In the latter reading of the nation, a reading which had been, thus far, the dominant and largely unquestioned definition of the nation, it was assumed that a state had arrived at its historical mission which was also a mission based on consensus on a unified system of values. In the 1970s though with the growth of plural societies especially in European and settler-European nation states, the matter of how (to what extent, in which manner) a nation can come to terms with its increasingly ethnic and religious diversity gave rise to a different kind of political theory. The overriding critical theory came from theories of justice and the great text here was John Rawls’ 1971 classic A Theory of Justice . In it Rawls had argued (more or less in the opening sentences) that justice was ‘the first virtue of social institutions’. In multicultural theory, therefore, the whole relationship between state and individual freedoms, the links between a collective good (which required an interventionist state) and the concept of individual justice were vigorously debated. A second phase (around the late 1980s and early 1990s) took the form of accommodating collective rights within a theory of liberalism which always has the autonomy of the individual subject as the starting point of both the ‘good’ and of justice. How then could one have individual rights and at the same time collective rights, especially when within a given juridical regime these may be in conflict? Naturally the stage which followed (the stage we are at now) was one marked by a rethinking of the nation state itself in terms of an incomplete project of modernity and justice. Incomplete because the received idea of the Enlightenment subject (unified, rational and western) had to be redefined with reference to the new subjectivities of the multicultural order. And indeed the whole argument about particularism and universalism, starting from the presumption that the project of modernity was itself, at one stage, a particularism (which became a universalism), requires rethinking. The authors of essays brought together in Democracy, Nationalism and Multicutluralism argue these points at length. Bhikhu Parekh defends cultural diversity as being of value to democratic institutions since cultural diversity is a self-evident force which prevents democracy from becoming outmoded, effete, and inward-looking. Alain-G. Gagnon and Raffaele Iacovino examine the specific case of Canadian multiculturalism (as a distinct instance of a generalist multiculturalism) with reference to two models which co-exist within Canada. The first (the Anglo-Canadian model) which may be called ‘multiculturalist’, while recognizing differences situates all minorities and ethnic groups in the same category. These groups, however, function within established universal principles which are really the principles of the dominant majority. Against this there is the Québécois model of interculturalism which works towards a common basis of identity through a cultural plurality which, finally, has a direct effect on the very nature of Quebec identity. In other words, whereas English Canada recognizes differences (the ‘we are all migrants’ thesis) it does so only to re-establish the ‘unchanging’ nature of the nation. In Quebec, it is argued, interculturalism is transformative. Other contributors to this volume examine the relationship between ‘minority and majority nationalisms’, the processes by which a nation is built, the concept of a ‘post-national democracy’, the definition of plurinational states and finally the question (after Charles Taylor) of recognition. The Ukrainian community does not figure in any significant manner in Multiculturalism & Immigration in Canada , a reader compiled by Elspeth Cameron in part because for a long period Ukraine was not an independent nation but probably more because it is not a ‘basket case’ for Canadian multicultural theory. The communities which do figure a lot more prominently are the ‘visible minorities’ who remain the primary subject of multicultural theory in Canada. The compilation, however, is of great value as it gives an excellent overview of how immigration to Canada gave rise to a theory with which to explain the Canadian cultural mosaic. Indeed an extract from the Calgary Herald in the early pages of this volume indicates majoritarian unease with the ‘dirty, frowsy Galicians’ who came in numbers larger than Englishmen to the North West territories (p. 18). Fear of the Galicians reappears in 1930 when Stephen Leacock writes about Canada becoming part of a ‘Russian and Galician Empire’ (p. 22). And Jews too for a long period of time were not welcome in Canada (pp. 23–34). The point made in this collection, therefore, is that racial phobia, or the fear of the outsider has been part of Canadian history more or less since the arrival of the first settlers. And fear of being swamped, in an interesting demographic aside (p. 39), indicates how the ‘present French population of Canada (some four and a half million) is descended almost entirely from the approximately 65,000 persons settled there by 1763’ (p. 39). William Peterson, the author of the piece in which this comment is made, goes on to quote one Sauvy who wrote, ‘if the population of France had multiplied in the same proportion, it would today be much larger than that of the entire world’. Multiculturalism, therefore, writes Evelyn Kellen in her essay is used in Canada in at least three senses: ‘(1) to refer to the ‘social reality’ of ethnic diversity; (2) to refer to the federal government policy, designed to create national unity in ethnic diversity; and (3) to refer to the ideology of cultural pluralism (the Canadian mosaic) underlying federal policy’ (p. 75). Clearly, these senses have now acquired a more intense valency since the late sixties with the increasing number of migrants who may be classed as ‘visible minorities’: out of ‘a total movement to Canada of 161,531 immigrants in 1969, 23 per cent came from Asia and the Caribbean’ (p. 59). Two further essays may be mentioned here. The first is Richard Helmes-Hayes and James Curtis's re-reading of John Porter's seminal sociological study The Vertical Mosaic which defined the Canadian mosaic not in ethnic but in class (hence vertical) terms. The challenge now is to rethink the thesis in terms of the new ethnic demography of Canada in which the visibility of race may impinge upon classic readings of class. The second essay is from a self-declared ‘Muslim Lesbian Feminist’. The value of this essay by Irshad Manji is that it quite unabashedly celebrates the liberal ideals and strengths of the Canadian nation state. We may want to simply quote her more enthusiastically written sentences: ‘I can think of no collectivity better suited to the experiment [of multiculturalism] than Canadians’ (p. 170); ‘That Canada was the first country to enact multiculturalism does not surprise’ (p. 172); ‘If anyone can approach the ideal of interactive complexity, it is us’ (p. 172). At a time when there is a sense of ennui about multiculturalism (and about social theory generally) such endorsements are cause for optimism. Books continue to be written about the relationship between multiculturalism and the curriculum, between multiculturalism and hybrid cultures and between multiculturalism and transnationalism. The latter issue is discussed in an exemplary manner in a book edited by Françoise Lionnet and Shu-mei Shih. Françoise Lionnet and Shu-mei Shih edited Minor Transnationalism is an exceptional collection of new essays which takes up the often elided cultural experiences in generalist theories of transnationalism, hence the importance of the qualifier ‘minor’ in the title of this volume. The starting point, elegantly stated in the Introduction, is the failure of theories of globalization and transnationality to give intrinsic legitimacy to minority subjects. Even in those models that emphasize lateral and nonhierarchical networks (the rhizomatic model of Gilles and Deleuze is exemplary here) the centre still holds magnetic force and creates a binary in terms of which the minor is studied. So in what is seen as a key work on ‘minor literature’ ( Toward a Minor Literature ) Deleuze and Guattari continue to read it as works written by minorities in the dominant language. And even if one were to critique the centre—a not uncommon strategy in much of postcolonial studies—the very act of critiquing it re-establishes the centre's pre-eminence, its rather special place in all aspects of cultural production. Minorities are, however, very much part of the centre, they are not erratic and unassimilable groups somehow extraneous to the nation; they are indeed part of the national imaginary with their own legitimate perspective. The transnational (diaspora, multicultural polity) is part of globalization but requires analysis (as transnationals) neither through a utopian/dystopian reading from the liberal high ground of globalization nor from the romantized counter-critical model of the local and the global where the local is the subaltern heroic figure stubbornly resisting the advance of global capital. Write Lionnet and Shu-mei Shih, ‘The transnational, therefore, is not bound by the binary of the local and the global and can occur in national, local, or global spaces across different and multiple spatialities and temporalities’ (p. 6). Minority cultures are clearly part of the transnational moment. Their ‘productive relationship’ with both major and minor networks requires detailed analysis and critique. This kind of analysis, which the essays in the volume offer, would locate the minor in nations as permanent fixtures who suffer from anxieties and duress, and who may be profoundly unhappy. To look at them as nomadic citizens celebrating a new, unmoored form of citizenship is to trivialize their uneasy location in national cultures. Theirs is then a question of struggle and re-definition, a struggle towards acceptance that would see their labour as transforming history and hence the collective consciousness of the nation itself. How do minor transnationals gain recognition as full citizens, how do they transform a ‘token’ culture (represented in multicultural bazaars as repositories of ethnic food and dress) into a national culture? These questions have embedded in them the principle of creolization as being constitutive of cultures, that indeed there was never a time when cultures were pure (see the Canclini model discussed later in this survey). The Lionnet and Shu-mei Shih volume, however, is conscious of the fact that to acknowledge cultural contamination does not mean that one ignores the current trend towards a ‘hardening of minority identity’ (p. 10). But one then has to work transversally or horizontally, connecting minorities across nation states, examining transdiasporic or transcolonial lives, aware of a new global multiculturalism. There are 14 excellent essays in this volume. These are grouped under four headings: (1) theorizing, (2) historicizing, (3) reading, writing, performing, and (4) spatializing. The essays range from Suzanne Gearhart's establishing piece on the ambivalent structuring of subjectivity in the West as the European simultaneously excludes (Etienne Balibar had called it a case of interior exclusion) the Other and is yet defined by it to David Palumbo-Liu's return to aesthetics as a site for judgement of an emotional order often elided when matters of ethical responsibility are raised. These and other essays are significant and require serious attention. To do so adequately would be beyond the scope of this survey. To demonstrate the value of this collection, however, it may be best to select two essays that stand in for the collection as a whole. Two such essays are Françoise Lionnet's quite remarkable account of translating Shakespeare in Mauritius and Ali Behdad's take on postcolonial theory via Deleuze and Guattari's ‘minor literature’. Transcultural dimensions of literary production require a rather different interpretative model once we break away from the binaries of culture and knowledge (the latter something that great works of the West produce, the former no more than an anthropological archive from the periphery), high and low, metropolitan centre and the postcolonial, and so on. What is critical knowledge/pedagogy like when a minor text connects with other subaltern texts from postcolonial peripheries without the necessity of passing through a metropolitan centre? Hence one shifts from matters of intertextual control, the power of the canon and hierarchy to a more lateral postcolonial reading where other minor literatures and their modes of cultural productions become decisive. Lionnet takes up the case of the Indo-Mauritian Creole writer Dev Virahsawmy. At a time when the state is busy compartmentalizing its heterogeneous population—Indian vernaculars are being re-introduced even when for an entire century Creole and Bhojpuri-Hindi were the only functional plantation languages—and paranoid about French as a language of settler hegemony, Virahsawmy uses Creole as the inalienable Mauritian language in which Mauritian emotions are best expressed. Focusing on Virahsawmy's Creole play Toufann (premiered in Mauritius in 1995 and then again, in the English version, in London in December 1999) Lionnet examines how a ‘minor’ literature, with its clear indebtedness to Shakespeare ( toufann is the Hindi-Urdu word for ‘tempest’), written in the undeclared lingua franca of the country (somewhat absurdly English, which is hardly anyone's mother tongue in Mauritius, is the declared lingua franca) breaks away from hierarchical and centre-oriented post colonial theory to expose a more lateral, quotidian (that is everyday) life-worlds. Although Lionnet is emphatic on the title of the play and its performance as indicative of Virahsawmy's insistence on the here and now against a diasporic nostalgia by drawing attention to Virahsawmy's Tamil and not North Indian (and therefore Hindi-speaking) background, it is equally true that ‘Toufann’, the word, does impart an indenture ethos against the settler French ethos and this is because the moment of multiple Indian vernaculars is a post-independent phenomenon as the newly independent nation tried to give every subject a past and a language. In the process, of course, Creole itself became marginalized because it had no origin in a high culture outside of Mauritius. The Indian-dominated post-independent governments too were uneasy about the links between Creole and French in as much as the language grew out of an unequal plantation-slave and French-planter social relationship. Lionnet's point, however, is not based on this qualification though, for what she advances is the fact that Creole is the language most widely spoken in Mauritius, it is the subaltern language (with no real high culture origins elsewhere) and it opens up the possibility of a ‘‘transcolonial’ form of solidarity’ (p. 206). The latter is a key feature of the volume as a whole as the general thesis of all the essays is the importance of making lateral connections between postcolonial texts and not a hierarchical or vertical anxiety of influence vis à vis the centre where the critical approach remains ultimately ‘reactive’ and caught up with the idea of a prior canon (p. 207). Hence for Lionnet regional similarities between one text and another is a rather more important concern. Virahsawmy's play not only unsettles the idea of a canon as being fixed but also, through the use of Creole, demonstrates the remarkable resilience and openness of the language. As the language of hybrid identities, Creole may be seen as the subaltern language without equal since it has no history of imperial hegemony. Moreover, the title of the play— Toufann —with its dual Hindi and Creole semantic (‘tou fan’ or ‘tou fane’ in Creole means ‘it's a mess’ (p. 213) and in the play Prospero asks Aryel to ‘create chaos’ (p. 228)) tells the target audience that the immediate meaning of the play is to be located in local culture and politics and not in its suggestive Shakespearian intertext, which, again, becomes meaningful only through a certain kind of high cultural knowledge. In naming one of the characters Dammarro (the junkie) Virahsawmy again connects with the growing cultural pull of Bollywood cinema on Indo-Mauritian culture. High on ganja, Dammarro relapses into ‘Dam marro dam! Hare Krishna, hare Ram’. What he recalls are lines from a song in a well known Bollywood film titled Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971). In this respect the play is located less in the politics of postcolonial self-righteous condemnation of Shakespeare's racist representation of the native Caliban but more in the reconstructions of newer characters whose moral agenda insinuates something rotten in the local state (of Mauritius) itself. In Ali Behdad's essay on the predicament of ‘minor’ literature, the points made by Lionnet are given a more generalist theoretical turn. To Behdad, the current language of postcolonial theory—power, opposition, hegemony, resistance, exile, strategies of resistance, and so on—imply a grammar of opposition that can be replicated in all imperial and post-imperial situations. In other words, opposition to a dominant culture unifies all such post-colonial relations. What such readings overlook—as is clear from Lionnet's own situated example—is that the specific historical contexts of cultural capital are never given the attention they deserve. In the larger context of multiculturalism this volume of essays points to the need for specific archives to be examined and subjected to rigorous analyses. In these studies what would emerge is a more nuanced and often less political engagement with the subject matter, for it seems that in a post-9/11 world it is not unqualified celebration of diversity which is important but a critical examination of the legacy of the Enlightenment itself and the degrees to which alternative ‘reasons’ may be countenanced. Implicit in Behdad's argument is also the larger question of multiculturalism and the curriculum. This problematic is addressed in Bethany Bryson's Making Multiculturalism which looks at the English curriculum of four American universities. Unfortunately none of the universities is mentioned by name and it is difficult to then link the curriculum to specific socio-cultural college/university histories. The optimism generated by multiculturalism—an optimism which, in some circles, implied teaching a range of texts which reflected the ethnic diversity of the nation—did not lead to any radical re-thinking of the English curriculum, certainly not in the universities. Indeed, Bryson's research indicates that professors are in fact a lot more conservative now than they were in the 1980s (let alone the 1960s). It follows that perhaps multiculturalism had little impact on American society, it changed very little and although experts talked about the likely changes that multiculturalism will bring to culture, this did not happen. Enthusiasm is one thing, change quite another. Writes Bryson: Pundits talked about both literature and multiculturalism in lofty terms, as though they were the only things that mattered in the world. It made for great reading, but it had almost nothing to do with the multiculturalism that now exists ‘inside the box’ of everyday life in college classrooms and the outside world. Real multiculturalism—multiculturalism in action—is much different. It is more restricted, more resistant to cultural change, and more closely tied to stable social institutions. (pp. 3–4) There are a number of interesting insights that emerge from the extensive analysis that Bryson makes of the four English departments. The first is that professors are a notoriously conservative bunch, especially when they are Eng Lit professors. More generally the observations throw up an important contradiction: a professor may well write extensively on cultural issues and yet is rather wary of changing the teaching of the canon in his or her own department. Often professors of English found that as a concept (or a creed or an analytic) multiculturalism was unworkable and since multiculturalism does not have a literary theory built into it (as Marxism for instance does), it can only function at the level of ‘tokenism’ which means that few non-European writers are taught to circumvent accusations of Eurocentrism. Most importantly though Bryson sees the problem or issue not as an ideological debate (a ‘canon war’) but as the outcome of the structural constraints within which a university operates, and these structural constraints (apart from ensuring that the syllabus has built into it an English/American literary history) involve matters of funding, departmental cohesiveness and even relative merits of research. After all, editing Hamlet for the Arden Shakespeare is a much grander and more prestigious exercise than annotating Rushdie. A word which has been used in tandem with multiculturalism is ‘hybridity’/‘hybridization’. It is also a word which has had a bad press, as it is seen, in some quarters, after the example of the mule, as being sterile. A creative and productive defence comes from Néstor García Canclini's Hybrid Cultures . Canclini is a fine thinker and what he writes has been seriously thought through. A dictionary of cultural studies, Canclini suggests, has many words, many of which are new ones, or at least are old ones with new meanings. One word which has had a more powerful impact in changing the way in which we think of culture is the word ‘hybridization’ a ‘detonating’ term in culture. His book, as Canclini declares at the outset, ‘will focus on how studies of hybridization have altered the manner of speaking about identity, culture, difference, inequality, multiculturalism, and about conceptual pairings used to organize conflict in the social sciences: tradition/modernity; north/south, local/global’ (p. xxii). Although precursors to this word have existed, in written texts, since Roman times, it is only now that the word is being used as an explanatory model for a range of cultural processes. Canclini goes on to define hybridization as follows: I understand for hybridization socio-cultural processes in which discrete structures or practices, previously existing in separate form, are combined to generate new structures, objects, and practices (author's italics). (p. xxv) As an analytic hybridization has to be seen in terms of its utility value, which means that it is a process which can be variously negotiated: one can adopt it, one can withdraw oneself from it, one can be excluded from it, or co-opted into it, one can be subordinated to it. Seen in this light it becomes a term which functions more or less like an option. Thus for multicultural theory it poses a range of possibilities for the subject, from the hybrid ideal of a Salman Rushdie to a critical distancing from it of someone like Richard Rorty. In both instances (not that Rorty would use the term) one's relationship to the process would dictate the position one holds on multiculturalism. On a larger geo-political scale the use of a hybrid logic (defending multiple sources of goods and production, examining multicultural work ethics, and so on) is the best defence to the homogenizing logic of capital. What is of value then is to situate, as George Yúdice has suggested, hybridization ‘in dialogue’ with the literature of multiculturalism. Such a dialogue would also lead to an expansion of the figure of the exile, the figure of the traveller, or even the figure of the multiply conditioned subject for whom cultures are always many even when they are located within only one. As a creative pedagogy hybridization has a lot to offer. I end the year's survey with brief citations from two books. The first is Geomodernisms edited by Laura Doyle and Laura Winkiel in which one of the contributors, Ariela Freedman, suggests that ‘multiculturalism, which is a central preoccupation of postmodernism, has been an element of Indian life for thousands of years’, a comment which, at one stroke, reduces multiculturalism to a willingness of cultures to live side by side. The second is a volume entitled Multiculturalism in the United States in which the following ethnic groups are given a chapter each: African Americans, American Indians, Arab Americans, Asian Indian Americans, Chinese Americans, Dominican Americans, Filipino Americans, German Americans, Haitian Americans, Irish Americans, Italian Americans, Jewish Americans, Korean Americans, Mexican Americans, Polish Americans, Scandinavian Americans, Vietnamese Americans, all chosen because their numbers are relatively large. But where are the Greeks, the Pacific Islanders, let alone the Australians and South Africans, and why include first nation people? In this volume recognition comes if a chapter, however schematic, can be written about an ethnic group. In some ways, regardless of the sophistication of American multicultural theory in the hands of some of its best practitioners, the bottom line is a wink and a nod at cultural difference through symbolic incorporation. What does not emerge as powerfully in the survey for 2005, except perhaps in Roger Hewitt's book and in the preamble to this survey from the Australian newspaper, is a new binary which is gradually emerging and this binary may be crudely presented as ‘Islam and the rest’ where the absolute otherness of Islam (and its exclusiveness) is now forcing a rethinking of the earlier theoretical underpinnings of multiculturalism. In this scenario a binary is created around the opposition of (theocratic) absolutism verses (postmodern cultural) relativism. To break the binary and rethink the issues in a more complex fashion is the new challenge of multiculturalism. Books Reviewed Bryson Bethany.. , Making Multiculturalism: Boundaries and Meaning in US English Departments. , 2005 StanfordUPpg. 215 pb $19.95 ISBN 0 8047 5164 1 Buenker John D, Ratner Lorman A. , Multiculturalism in the United States: A Comparative Guide to Acculturation and Ethnicity. , 2005 Greenwoodpg. 435 hb $75 ISBN 0 3133 2404 2 Cameron Elspeth. , Multiculturalism & Immigration in Canada. , 2004 CSPpg. 426 pb $39.95 ISBN 1 5513 0249 7 Canclini Néstor García.. , Hybrid Cultures: Strategies for Entering and Leaving Modernity. , 2005 UMinnP Trans. Christopher L. Chiappari and Silvia L. Lópezpg. 295 pb $19.95 ISBN 0 8166 4668 6 Doyle Laura, Winkiel Laura. , Geomodernisms: Race, Modernism, Modernity. , 2005 IndianaUPpg. 354 pb $24.95 ISBN 0 2532 1778 4 Glazier Jack.. , Dispersing the Ghetto: The Relocation of Jewish Immigrants Across America. , 2005 MichSUPpg. 245 pb $22.95 ISBN 0 8701 3747 6 Gopinath Gayatri. , Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures. , 2005 DukeUPpg. 247 pb $22.95 ISBN 0 8223 3513 1 Hart Cathy.. ‘Multiculturalism is a dirty word’, The Weekend Australian. 3–4 November 2006 . pg. p. 3 Hewitt Roger. , White Backlash and the Politics of Multiculturalism. , 2005 CUPpg. 171 pb £17.99 ISBN 0 5215 2089 4 Hollinger David A. , Postethnic America: Beyond Multiculturalism. , revised edn 2005 Basicpg. 296 pb $10.99 ISBN 0 4650 3065 3 Lionnet Françoise, Shih Shu-mei. , Minor Transnationalism. , 2005 DukeUPpg. 360 pb $24.99 ISBN 0 8223 3490 9 Loomba Ania, Kaul Suvir, Bunzl Matti, Burton Antoinette, Esty Jed. , Postcolonial Studies and Beyond. , 2005 DukeUPpg. 499 pb $24.95 ISBN 0 8223 3523 9 Lupul Manoly R. , The Politics of Multiculturalism: A Ukrainian-Canadian Memoir. , 2005 Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies Presspg. 508 pb $34.95 ISBN 1 8948 6501 4 Máiz Ramón, Requejo Ferran. , Democracy, Nationalism and Multiculturalism. , 2005 Frank Casspg. 164 hb £75. ISBN 0 4153 4785 8 Nayar Kamala Elizabeth. , The Sikh Diaspora in Vancouver: Three Generations Amid Tradition, Modernity, and Multiculturalism. , 2004 UTorPpg. 276 pb $26.95 ISBN 0 8020 8631 4 (2007) © The English Association; all rights reserved.
The Year's Work in Critical and Cultural Theory – Oxford University Press
Published: Jan 1, 2007
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