Entangled representations of Brazil and Canada: towards a decolonial intervention
Almeida Nunes, Vanessa
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This thesis is a cultural studies intervention that offers a critical framework for interrogating fictional narratives in which parts of the story take place in both Brazil and Canada. Through close textual readings, thematic and contextual analyses of nine texts from different genres, languages, and national origins, this thesis demonstrates the challenges and the opportunities for a more nuanced view of what I call entangled representations of Brazil and Canada, and their hemispheric implications. After arguing that stereotyping and language barriers contribute to framing polarized views of Brazil and Canada, while also marginalizing both countries in the imaginaries of the Americas, I draw on Donna J. Haraway’s theorizations about kinship and response-ability to suggest ethical readings of those entanglements. The first chapter examines the Hollywood blockbuster The Incredible Hulk and Margaret Atwood’s novel MaddAddam to problematize the tradition of depicting spaces in Brazil and Canada as no man’s lands where people vanish from society. The second chapter expands the linguistic scope of this project by focusing on the Brazilian novela O Dono do Mundo and Sergio Kokis’s Québécois novel Le Pavillon des Miroirs to highlight the importance of both multilingualism and translation in bringing Brazil and Canada together. The third chapter explores the performative potential of kinship in offering a multilayered view of the Americas through case studies of Nancy Huston’s novel Black Dance and Tomson Highway’s play The (Post) Mistress. The fourth chapter looks at Lesley Krueger’s novel Drink the Sky and Vandana Singh’s novella Entanglement to demonstrate the role of response-ability in building ethical views of transnational entanglements. In dialogue with Guillermo Verdecchia’s play Fronteras Americanas, the conclusion makes the case for shifting the geographies of knowledge that have dominated the field of hemispheric studies. As an invitation to care about the ways Brazil and Canada are brought together in fiction, this thesis ultimately unveils what is at stake in those entangled representations, as well as new possibilities for thinking about the American hemisphere.