The Undiscovered Country
Essays in Canadian Intellectual Culture
By Ian Angus
Athabasca University Press
In this sequence of essays, Ian Angus engages with themes of identity,power, and the nation as they emerge in contemporary English Canadianphilosophical thought, seeking to prepare the groundwork for a criticaltheory of neoliberal globalization. The essays are organized into threeparts. The opening part offers a nuanced critique of the Hegelianconfidence and progressivism that has come to dominate Canadianintellectual life. Through an analysis of the work of several prominentCanadian thinkers, among them Charles Taylor and C. B. Macpherson,Angus suggests that Hegelian frames of reference are inadequate,failing as they do to accommodate the fact of English Canada’scontinuing indebtedness to empire. The second part focuses on nationalidentity and political culture, including the role of Canadian studiesas a discipline, adapting its critical method to Canadian politicalculture. The first two parts culminate in the positive articulation, inPart 3, of author’s own conception, one that is at once moreutopian and more tragic than that of the first two parts. Here, Angusdevelops the concept of locative thought—the thinking of a peoplewho have undergone dispossession, “of a people seeking its placeand therefore of a people that has not yet found its place.”
Ian Angus is currently professor of humanities atSimon Fraser University. He has written several books on contemporaryphilosophy and communication, as well as on English Canadian social andpolitical thought, among them A Border Within: National Identity,Cultural Plurality and Wilderness and Identity and Justice. He is also the author of the more popularly orientedEmergent Publics: An Essay on Social Movements and Democracyand Love the Questions: University Education andEnlightenment. He lives in East Vancouver with his wife anddaughter.
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