The course sets out to explore the current debate over Multiculturalism  in Canada, the United States and Britain. Multiculturalism  is a concept  used to refer to[1] a society that is characterized by ethnic or cultural heterogeneity, and in this case the term multicultural society should be preferred;[2]  the philosophic moral concept expressing the ideal of equality and mutual respect, but also a recognition of cultural difference among a nation’s ethnic or cultural groups; and [3] the Canadian government’s policy proclaimed by the federal government in 1971 (and contested by Quebec which favours the term “interculturalism”) and subsequently  inscribed in the Canadian Constitution (The Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 1982) and the Multiculturalism Act of 1988, a meaning that expresses the government’s recognition of diversity  committing the nation to the preservation and enhancement of the multicultural heritage of Canadians. The related concepts of interculturalism and transculturalism will also be introduced .

The course will have a double focus: the rich theoretical frame this concept has initiated will be correlated with the analyses of concrete literary examples that illustrate the enrichment of “mainstream” Canadian, American and British literature with a variety of voices and traditions which are at the same time attuned to these postmodern times. The discussion will concentrate on the representation of class, race, gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation in the construction of identity and on the liminal zones and hybridity of identities specific to multicultural/multiethnic societies which foreground displacement  as a characteristic of today’s global world. In addition to the study of ethnic/minority literatures  in their socio-cultural contexts, the course  will also  discuss the aesthetics of ethnic literature and the oppositional character  of male culture and female culture.

Course instructor: Prof Monica Bottez


Week 1: The Concept of Multiculturalism ; its Objectives

Reading: Kymlicka, Will. “The Canadian Model of Diversity in a Comparative Perspective”, in Multiculturalism and the Canadian Constitution, ed. Steven Tierney. Vancouver, Toronto: University of British Columbia Press, 2007, 61-90.

Week 2:  The Concept of Otherness ; recognition of dignity, recognition of difference

Readings: Todorov, Tvetan. Noi si ceilalti. Iasi: Insititutul European , 1999; cap. Etnocentrismul.Rasa si rasialismul; Determinismul stiintific; Taylor, Charles.”The Politics of Recognition’, in David Theo Goldberg,  Multiculturalism. A Critical Reader. Oxford, UK &Cambridge, USA: Blackwell,1994 , 75-107.

Week 3: Critical multiculturalism and critique of multiculturalism; Multiculturalism, Interculturalism, Transculturalism .The rise and fall of Multiculturalism?

Reading: Kymlicka, Will. “Multiculturalism: Success, Failure, and the Future”, http:///…/TCM-Multiculturalism-Web.pdf

Week 4: Communitarianism versus Liberal Democracy – various perspectives

Readings: Habermas, Jűrgen.“Multiculturalism and the Liberal State”, Stanford Law Review, 1995/ “Struggles for Recognition in Constitutional States”, I EUR. J. PHIL. 128(1993); Schuster, Anke.”Does Liberalism Need Multiculturalism? A Critique of Liberal Multiculturalism”.Essays in Philosophy, vol7, no 1, January 2006.

Weeks 5-7. Multiculturalism in the United States. American Critical Multiculturalism, Revolutionary Multiculturalism, Imperial Multiculturalism, Mainstream or Pluralistic Multiculturalism.

Readings: Mihaila, Rodica. ”Re-negotiations of American Identity: The Critique of Multiculturalism”, University of Bucharest Review, I, no.4 (2000), 5-18; ead., “The Taming of American multiculturalism: From Balkanization to Empire” , B.A.S. vol XIII, Timisoara ,2007, 155-63; Multiculturalism Policies in Contemporary Democracies,  Queen’s University, of Form

Weeks 8-10:  Multiculturalism  in the United Kingdom

Readings: Phillips, Melanie. ”The Multicultural Paralysis”, in Londonistan. New York, London: Encounter Books, 2006, 57-76; Multiculturalism Policies in  Contemporary Democracies, Queen’s University,

Weeks 11-12: The Multicultural Landscape of the Contemporary North American Novel:  Representation of Difference, Cultural Identities and Traumas

Weeks 13-14: The Multicultural Landscape of the Contemporary British Novel: Cultural Identities and Traumas


  • 50% class participation for taking the final test
  • 33 % discussion of one theoretical article /  presentation  of one novel
  • 66 %  final written test