Abstract: This article follows the critical theory that Canadian wilderness painting exists only when the artist disavows their presence at the scene of capture, and suggests that it is due time the theory be applied to Canadian sound pieces such as Glenn Gould’s The Idea of North (1967). A contrapuntal radio piece that marked Glenn Gould’s baptism into experimental documentary, The Idea of North explores how the North is placed in the Canadian imaginary as an ambivalent object of national identity. In this article, I argue that the aesthetic procedures of The Idea of North create a narrative space through which the Other is constructed as a savage who is subsequently saved by the benevolent welfare state. Thus, The Idea of North idealizes the North by virtue of (1) its distantiation from the North, and (2) its Othering of Canada’s Inuit as savage and helpless, reflective of (3) a new benevolent racism that made up assimilationist ideology, a requisite for post-World War II Northern resource development. The Idea of North is, thus, an aesthetic example of ‘differential racism,’ which proceeds through perceived cultural rather than biological differences, and works to include the targeted social group rather than exclude them. Given The Idea of North’s nar- rative of the North’s future, I argue that the future is a convenient temporal sche- matic through which the present remains governed. I maintain that we must add benevolent racism to the cultural theory of exploitation and domination in order to understand the contemporary structure of racism that haunts any cultural denials of colonialism.

Abstract: In this article I draw on a long history of successive transatlantic “displacements” and “returns” that have shaped and reshaped Liberian diasporan identities. Proposing that diasporicity is above all an identity discourse, the first part of this article documents and compares dramatic differences in that discourse across historical generations while also examining arguments about this form of identity and social differences in subscription to it within specific generations. This history has been one of successive and often mutually contradictory recastings of where “origin” is located, which have been subject to social argumentation. A comparison of these identity discourses across different historical generations suggests the need to investigate diasporicity as more than merely an affirmation of belonging but rather also a powerful critique of exclusion. Finally, I hone in on the variations of diasporicity that have emerged within the Liberian transnational field during a single historical period (the present) to demonstrate how diasporicity as a particular form of identity emerges under—and inherently references—conditions of experiential fragmentation that are largely unforeseen and fundamentally problematic for current analytical concepts of generation. Describing some of the multiple diasporicities within the current Liberian transnational field, I argue that any concept of diasporic generation must be one that empirically ascertains the boundaries of shared historicity rather than assuming that temporal and social boundaries coincide.

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