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Author:Daniel Yon (York University)
Paper short abstract:
Inspired by the burgeoning literature on cosmopolitanisms, auto-ethnographic teaching work, and Conley's 'chaosmopolis', this paper interrogates the tensions between strategic essentialisms' desires for 'recognition' and identity as conflicted temporary assemblage, in envisioning multiculturalism.
Paper long abstract:
I bring the findings of ethnographic work in a high school into conversation with contemporary scholarship on cosmopolitanism, cosmo-politics, eco-politics and my current auto-ethnographic work teaching a university course on cosmopolitanisms and questions of belonging, both in the city of Toronto. I explored the tensions that are invoked by the embodied essentialism(s) of a politics of recognition, on the one hand, and the 'tug-of-war' of the everyday workings of identity as partial becomings. I juxtapose the imaginary lens of cultural pluralism, and 'cultures' a pre-existent and discrete entities, with Conley's (2002) 'chaosmopolis' that views the city as continually being created and re-created. I explore what it might mean to re-energize Canadian multiculturalism through these tensions and against a backdrop of populist anti-multicultural rhetoric and sentiment. I argue for the retention of the tension, to engage with the clash of theory and to resist the temptation to domesticate the messiness in the interest of theoretical coherence.