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Civic reading practice in contemporary American and Canadian writing
Author: Zalfa Feghali

Can reading make us better citizens? This book sheds light on how the act of reading can be mobilised as a powerful civic tool in service of contemporary civil and political struggles for minority recognition, rights, and representation in North America. Crossing borders and queering citizenship reimagines the contours of contemporary citizenship by connecting queer and citizenship theories to the idea of an engaged reading subject. This book offers a new approach to studying the act of reading, theorises reading as an integral element of the basic unit of the state: the citizen. By theorising the act of reading across borders as a civic act that queers citizenship, the book advances an alternative model of belonging through civic readerly engagement. Exploring work by seven US, Mexican, Canadian, and Indigenous authors, including Gloria Anzaldúa, Dorothy Allison, Gregory Scofield, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Erín Moure, Junot Díaz, and Yann Martel, the book offers sensitive interpretations of how reading can create citizenship practices that foreground and value recognition, rights, and representation for all members of a political system.

Shakespeare’s Roman plays, republicanism and identity in Samson Agonistes
Helen Lynch

Milton and the idea of oratory. Milton and the Politics of Public Speech (Farnham, 2015) looks at Milton’s polemical prose alongside that of many of his contemporaries, and then examines how the imagery of classical citizenship (and more specifically imagery of groups explicitly excluded from citizenship of the Greek polis and Roman res publica ) plays out in his later poetry, above all in his Hebreo-Greek drama. Milton famously equates ‘poetry, and all good oratory’ in his note on the verse of Paradise Lost and one of the original features of my book is the

in Conversations
Vincent Quinn

. This chapter will extend that discussion by exploring how university commentators have tried to systematise reading. Specifically, I am going to talk about close reading, a practice that intersects with numerous academic formations but that has also shaped how literature is taught in schools. As the title of this chapter suggests, I am preoccupied by reading’s role in forming civic identity, and it is in education that reading and citizenship come together most visibly. All theories of reading participate in the cultural imaginary of reading, by which I mean

in Reading
Zalfa Feghali

6 Reading for hemispheric citizenship in Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao In his 1992 Nobel Speech, Saint Lucian poet and Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott theorised Caribbean art as working to achieve the recovery and reconstruction what he called the region’s ‘shattered histories’. As he put it: ‘Antillean art is this restoration of our shattered histories, our shards of vocabulary, our archipelago becoming a synonym for pieces broken off from the original continent.’1 Walcott’s comments on the connections between art and history encapsulate the

in Crossing borders and queering citizenship
A Session at the 2019 Modern Language Association Convention
Robert Jackson, Sharon P. Holland, and Shawn Salvant

“Interventions” was the organizing term for the presentations of three Baldwin scholars at the Modern Language Association Convention in Chicago in January of 2019. Baldwin’s travels and activities in spaces not traditionally associated with him, including the U.S. South and West, represent interventions of a quite literal type, while his aesthetic and critical encounters with these and other cultures, including twenty-first-century contexts of racial, and racist, affect—as in the case of Raoul Peck’s 2016 film I Am Not Your Negro—provide opportunities to reconsider his work as it contributes to new thinking about race, space, property, citizenship, and aesthetics.

James Baldwin Review
Author: Michael Kalisch

This book explores how the contemporary American novel has revived a long literary and political tradition of imagining male friendship as interlinked with the promises and paradoxes of democracy in the United States. In the last decades of the twentieth century, not only novelists but philosophers, critical theorists, and sociologists rediscovered the concept of friendship as a means of scrutinising bonds of national identity. This book reveals how friendship, long exiled from serious political philosophy, returned as a crucial term in late twentieth-century communitarian debates about citizenship, while, at the same time, becoming integral to continental philosophy’s exploration of the roots of democracy, and, in a different guise, to histories of sexuality. Moving innovatively between these disciplines, this important study brings into dialogue the work of authors rarely discussed together – including Philip Roth, Paul Auster, Michael Chabon, Jonathan Lethem, Dinaw Mengestu, and Teju Cole – and advances a compelling new account of the political and intellectual fabric of the contemporary American novel.

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An act of queering citizenship
Zalfa Feghali

1 Reading: an act of queering citizenship The very idea of queering citizenship can be confounding. In an essay entitled ‘Queer Citizenship/​ Queer Representation: Politics Out of Bounds?’ Kathleen B. Jones and Sue Dunlap investigate the idea of what they call queer citizenship, based on ‘the building of a different kind of democratic community’ as one they are unable to define or pin down.1 In exploring US and Canadian literary texts that reflect on the limitations of contemporary understandings of citizenship, this book posits a queering of citizenship using

in Crossing borders and queering citizenship
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Why queer(y) citizenship?
Zalfa Feghali

Introduction: why queer(y) citizenship? In Thomas King’s 1993 short story, ‘Borders’, readers follow an Indigenous woman and her son as they set off from their home on the reserve and attempt to cross the Canada–​US border that cuts across the 49th parallel. The US border guard does not allow them to cross into the United States because the mother declares their citizenship as Blackfoot and not ‘Canadian’ or ‘American’. The pair attempt to return and are not allowed to cross into Canada for the same reason.1 Despite attempts by border guards on both sides to

in Crossing borders and queering citizenship
Zalfa Feghali

5 The antianaesthetic and ‘a community of readers’ in Erín Moure’s O Cidadán Each of the previous chapters has discussed how the work of a ‘peripheral person’ can be mobilised to push readers to blur the boundaries of the status and performance of citizenship, enacting a queering of the concept. I have explored how Anzaldúa and Allison create alternative queer communities of belonging, while Scofield and Gómez-​ Peña use, among other strategies, synecdoche as a device to position the reader as occupying the place of the ‘other’ (whether singular or plural

in Crossing borders and queering citizenship
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Yann Martel’s lonely book club
Zalfa Feghali

drawn from the author’s ‘What is Stephen Harper Reading?’ project. 174 Crossing borders and queering citizenship If the authors and works discussed in previous chapters may have at times seemed to deal with the civic act of reading more figuratively, this chapter offers an exploration of a concrete way that reading can function as a civic act in what I have called the queering of citizenship. Where the writing of Gloria Anzaldúa and Dorothy Allison theorises abstract or fictional spaces of queer belonging, Gregory Scofield’s and Guillermo Gómez-​Peña’s poetry and

in Crossing borders and queering citizenship