University of Toronto Magazine University of Toronto Magazine
Winter 2003

The African-Canadian Experience

George Elliott Clarke explores the African-Canadian experience in a new collection of essays

Despite the influence of African-American culture, African-Canadian literature has a distinct history and deals with issues all Canadians hold in common. That is the message of Odyssey Home: Mapping African-Canadian Literature (U of T Press, 2002), a collection of essays by English professor George Elliott Clarke. Clarke investigates how African-Canadian writers – in both fiction and non-fiction – have addressed issues of identity, racism and colonialism in Canada since 1785. “Our population consists of people with roots going back centuries as well as the more recent arrivals from the Caribbean, Africa, South America and the United States,” says Clarke. “It’s an exciting mixture of people who don’t necessarily share the same world views, religion or language but who do share an experience of displacement, colonialism, slavery and racism.” Nevertheless, African-American models will continue to influence African-Canadian ones because of what Clarke calls “the dynamic and successful cultural example of African-Americans” in their long struggle to achieve equality.

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One response to “The African-Canadian Experience”

  1. George you have been dancin’ away from me like a butterfly in a breeze. I have called, written and my words die like a lost albatross on an unknown and anonymous ocean. I am not the sentimental type but I would like you to meet a young artist friend of mine Quentin “Vercetty” Lindsay. Check him out at:
    http://www.youdunknow.org/

    Be sure to check out his Spoken Word section. May your muse always whisper in your heart!

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