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Legacy of influence : African Canadian stories in a multicultural landscape Odhiambo, Seonagh

Abstract

This thesis clarifies some issues at the forefront of Multicultural education from an anti-racist perspective. The researcher is concerned that, while school boards across the country allegedly promote an education wherein the perspectives of all Canadian cultural groups are included—a goal that reflects promises of both the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the policy of Multiculturalism—differences persist between what is intended by policy makers and what perspectives are actually included in the curriculum. These contradictions between intentions and conduct are explored by exarmning the effects of Multicultural ideology on the discursive borders of Canadian education. These ideas are then related to the specific example of African Canadian history. Past and present contradictions between Canadian policies and practices toward African Canadians are scrutinized. The issue of African Canadian exclusion from the Canadian Literary Canon is emphasized and this problem is related through a discussion of the Canadian publishing industry. The writer argues that different kinds of opportunities are required that help learners explore the subject of racism on an emotional level, develop in-depth understandings about African Canadian history and cultures, and give learners opportunities to listen to African Canadian perspectives. The idea that African Canadian literature could be utilised by educators is suggested as a way to start establishing a basis for education where African Canadian perspectives are represented on equal terms. Pedagogical problems that might arise with the introduction of these stories into the curriculum are addressed. The writer argues that Canadian education developed out of a context of oppression. Postmodern research paradigms are suggested as a way to explore these issues. Following on the diverse writing styles that are used in postmodern inquiries, an excerpt from a play by the writer is included. Both the play and the discussion intentionally disrupt the suggestion of a self-Other dichotomy that is sometimes present in education and research. The writer explores this territory and ultimately suggests the possibility of negotiating relationships that are not defined by oppression, but that acknowledge the pain that oppression causes.

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