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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Dissent and dislocation : essays on crisis Bassan, Neil Rattan


This thesis presents essays on the concept crisis within educational contexts or contexts of self-formation. The context of the personal quest for formation provides different settings within which historical, psychic, and theological senses of the concept crisis can be seen as interrelated themes in journey literatures. In the first essay, I examine concepts of crisis and understand them as providing contexts for historical change of the world itself. In the second essay, I describe movements for change through dissent or civil disobedience, drawing from the moral crisis of ‘white complacency’ that the sermons and writing of Martin Luther King Jr. respond to. That particular portrayal of crisis, set within the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, reveals an opening for alternative forms of schooling to be reconsidered as their own movements. This is a revisioning of free-schooling as movement and ideology, after the death of compulsory schooling. Quite differently, personal-moral dislocation of diasporic characters, Afro-Asian migrants in particular, is examined to propose internal or affective dimensions of the concept crisis in the third essay. I examine Moyez G. Vassanji’s migrant-minority narratives, in the postcolonial novel, travel-writing and memoir to show dislocated characters who embark on searches for identity and who struggle for intergenerational communication and cultural translation as writers. Finally, the mystic-poet provides an image of reconciling crisis through the theological motif of the quest of heart, the quest of the seeker to be reunited through self-emptying with their beloved-God.

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