Rinaldo Walcott is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education at The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE). His areas of specialization are cultural studies and cultural theory; queer and gender theory, and transnational and diaspora studies. He is currently the Canada Research Chair of Social Justice and Cultural Studies. He spoke about Canada as an interesting project.

Royal Ontario Museum
Rinaldo Walcott, Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair, Social Justice and Cultural Studies, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto

© 2006, Royal Ontario Museum. All Rights Reserved.


Whenever you think about nations you have to think about two different, at least two different kinds things. One is, most nations no, no matter how lovely and romantic we try to make stories up about them, most nations are founded or established on a moment of violence of some sort, whether it’s a civil war, whether it’s the colonization of a previous group of people or what have you. Most nations are founded on some act of violence and yet, you don’t only have to be defined by the act of violence. That act of violence can be transformative, it can be community building, it can lead towards various kinds of restitution, social justice, cultural justice and so forth. So in the Canadian context, I think that we’re often back and forth across those two lines – across the founding violent act of the nation, which is the colonization and attempted genocide of First Nations and Aboriginal peoples and on the other side we’re kind of working out this really interesting project of what a nation can be around not being a nation that is founded around one linguistic group, not being a nation that’s being founded around one kind of racial identity, not being a nation that’s founded only around notions of the nuclear family and so forth. So in the Canadian context both of those kind of founding moments of a nation are being worked out. And in that sense it makes Canada a very interesting project, yeah and it’s a project that’s not finished and so I think the real challenge is what kinds of political leaders we’re going to have who are going to have a really strong vision to take us all the way on the second part of that which is to have a nation that’s really, which is to have Canada redefine what a nation can be globally.

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