British Journal of Canadian Studies

Avoiding innocence: unsettling white guilt

British Journal of Canadian Studies (2018), 31, (2), 209–226.

Abstract

In this anecdotal article, I employ Eva Mackey’s concept of settler uncertainty to analyse my place in settler colonialism. I grew up in the quintessential Canadian setting of Parry Sound, Ontario – a town steeped in anti-Indigenous racism as much as nationalistic imagery. However, majoring in Canadian studies at Carleton University forced me to grapple with the colonial and racist nature of my upbringing. This self-reflexive piece critically examines my motivations for entering academia through formative stories from my childhood and reflections on my scholarly pursuits, exploring the influence of guilt on my so-called transformation. This article was originally written during my political science undergraduate degree at York University. Rather than updating it I have added another level of reflection critically analysing the previous work. I outline my previous adherence to colonial structures, my internal struggle to leave them behind, and ongoing reflections concerning settler decolonisation within the academy.

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References

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Anderson, Benedict, 2006, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (New York: Verso). Google Scholar

Battell Lowman, Emma, and Adam Barker, 2015, Settler: Identity and Colonialism in 21st Century Canada (Black Point, Canada: Fernwood). Google Scholar

Denis, Jeffrey S., 2015, ‘Contact Theory in a Small-town Settler-colonial Context: The Reproduction of Laissez-faire Racism in Indigenous-White Canadian Relations’, American Sociological Review, 80:1, 218–42. Google Scholar

Historica Canada, n.d., ‘Heritage Minutes’, Heritage Canada. Available from: https://www.historicacanada.ca/heritageminutes (accessed 20 June 2018). Google Scholar

Mackey, Eva, 2016, Unsettled Expectations: Uncertainty, Land and Settler Decolonization, (Halifax, Canada: Fernwood). Google Scholar

Manuel, Arthur, and Ronald Derrickson, 2017, The Reconciliation Manifesto: Recovering the Land Rebuilding the Economy (Toronto: Lorimer). Google Scholar

Tuck, Eve, and K. Wayne Yang, 2012, ‘Decolonization is Not a Metaphor’, Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, 1:1, 1–40. Google Scholar

Vowel, Chelsea, 2016, Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis &Inuit Issues in Canada (Winnipeg, Canada: High Water). Google Scholar

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Details

Author details

Zanussi, Darren

Zanussi, Darren