The hyphen: foodways as a metaphorical language in Canadian immigrant literature

Boschetti, Francesca (2021) The hyphen: foodways as a metaphorical language in Canadian immigrant literature. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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My dissertation explores the connection between foodways, identity, and multiculturalism to advance an understanding of Canadian identity as quintessentially multicultural and hyphenated. My study is divided into five chapters: two devoted to multiculturalism and the hyphen in Canada and the final three to food and foodways as a metaphorical language in Canadian immigrant writing. Together, they trace the complex connection between food and identity and shed light on the hyphenated identity construction process within a Canadian context. To account for the diversity of today’s Canada, I conducted a comparative analysis of eight fictional works published between 1982 and 2009 that portray hyphenated Canadian characters of different heritages (Italian-Canadian, Indo-Canadian, Japanese-Canadian, Ukrainian-Canadian, Portuguese-Canadian, as well as characters attached to a multiplicity of hyphenated Canadian components). Through these close readings, I address Canadian identity as heterogeneous and dynamic, in line with policies and theorizations of Canadian multiculturalism. My analysis draws from a wide range of secondary sources (Canadian governmental documents, post-colonial theories, Canadian literary scholarship, sociological studies, food studies scholarship, and scholarly and non-scholarly sources on Canadian multiculturalism and the hyphen), offering an interdisciplinary theoretical approach that contributes to a better understanding of Canadian diversity and multiculturalism. The main contributions of this dissertation are 1. its recognition that literary representations of multiculturalism and the hyphen spill into general Canadian discussions on multiculturalism and help better explain the current Canadian climate, 2. its investigation of the impact of food and foodways on the hyphenated identity building process, and 3. its presentation of hyphenated spaces as productive in-between spaces that accommodate diversity and help redefine what it means to be Canadian. Considering Canada’s contemporary socio-cultural and literary makeup, I hope that my research will stimulate additional conversations on the hyphen, hyphenated identities, and hyphenated characters that aim to highlight how Canadian immigrant writing should no longer be considered simply ethnic or minority writing, but an integral part of the mainstream Canadian literary canon.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
Item ID: 15154
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 216-245).
Keywords: Hyphen, Hyphenated Identity, Foodways, Canadian Immigrant Literature, Hybridity
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > English Language and Literature
Date: September 2021
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Immigrants' writings, Canadian--20th century; Immigrants' writings, Canadian--21st century; Food habits--Canada; Multiculturalism--Canada; Canada--Ethnic relations.

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