Discourses of Security, Peacekeeping, Narratives, and the Cultural Imagination in Canada (UTQ Volume 78, Number 2, 2009)

Discourses of Security, Peacekeeping, Narratives, and the Cultural Imagination in Canada (UTQ Volume 78, Number 2, 2009)

ISSN: 0042–0247
E-ISSN: 1712-5278
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Discourses of Security, Peacekeeping, Narratives, and the Cultural Imagination in Canada (UTQ Volume 78, Number 2, 2009)

Guest edited by Heike Härting and Smaro Kamboureli

An up-close look at peacekeeping reveals that we are drawn into the showdown between good and evil referred to in George W. Bush’s speeches, or in peacekeeping and humanitarian encounters, because they offer us a sense of self and belonging – an identity that is profoundly racially structured. We are being hailed as civilized beings who inhabit ordered democracies, citizens who are called upon to look after, instruct or defend ourselves against, the uncivilized Other. In this fantasy, we enter a moral universe that limits the extent to which we can even begin to think about the humanity of Others; our very participation depends on consigning whole groups of people into the category of those awaiting assistance into modernity. Sherene Razack

Historians J. L. Granatstein and Norman Hillmer have remarked that ‘if nations must have images, it is certainly better for Canadians to think of themselves as umpires, as morality incarnate, than as mass murderers or warmongers’ (350). Indeed, it would be safe to argue that this is one of the truisms that best encapsulate popular sensibility about Canada’s selfimage in the world. Since 1957, when Lester B. Pearson won the Nobel Peace Prize, Canada has adopted international peacekeeping in the name of human compassion, responsibility, and protection as one of its most important political and diplomatic strategies for self-invention employed both domestically and internationally. This does not mean, however, that Canada has been all along one of the most actively engaged nation-states in international peacekeeping,1 or that its peacekeeping self-image has remained unsullied, or, for that matter, that peacekeeping operates today as it was understood then.  … (from introduction by Heike Härting, Smaro Kamboureli)

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