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Canadian Studies: Sexuality and Human Rights

The introduction of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982 was a watershed moment in Canadian history that made possible the transformation of the country into a world leader in the battle for the rights of LGBT community (Graupner and Tahmindjis 98). Canadian Studies integrate many stories, symbols and codes that have formed a unique cultural narrative through the process of cross-fertilization.

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The history of Canada cannot be imagined without a chapter of same-sex struggle that in many ways defined the development of ethical principles of the country. Studying social ethos of Canada under a cisgender “lens” is tantamount to applying a set of Eurocentric beliefs and knowledge to the exploration of the culture of Indigenous people (Knopf 204). It can be argued that taking this approach is a form of “mental colonization” (Knopf 204). In a sense, it is very similar to the common notion that conquering and gradually transforming North America so it would fit a cultural paradigm of European colonizers was a “natural and logical” process (Knopf 204).

Interdisciplinarity is an approach toward a creative or scientific process that is associated with the intentional borrowing of different components from various disciplines. Applying this method to Canadian Studies and, particularly, to the exploration of LGBT community’s role in the cultural footprint of the country will help escape the lure of both “national unity rationale” and identification with a cisgender paradigm (Mookerjea, Szeman, and Faurschou 240).

It could also bridge the gap between the traditional approach to the exploration of the issue and its various angles that have to be considered. Moreover, Canadian Studies would benefit greatly from an interdisciplinary approach because it would allow reasonable application of useful methods and techniques from other disciplines. It is important to realize, that study of society requires a synthesis of knowledge, numerous areas of expertise and experiences that go beyond one’s expectations and do not fit into a common “social slot” (Hoerder 358).

Canadian Study differs from other “traditional” disciplines because it is, first and foremost, a comprehensive discipline; therefore, it can only benefit from the application of an interdisciplinary approach to the exploration of same-sex relationships in the cultural paradigm of the country.

Cameron Report issued in 1996 stated that Canadian Study does not reinforce the idea of a collective will and that it is divorced from the identification with the country itself (Mookerjea, Szeman, and Faurschou 240).

Therefore, it can be argued, that there are no hidden pitfalls in applying an interdisciplinary approach to the issue of same-sex rights. Not only does it help to remove any underlying political agenda but it also moves the cultural policy discourse in a realm of sexual orientation and gender identity that transcends a bland, nationalist view of the Canadian society. The dichotomies that interfere with “normative disciplinary practices” could be avoided, and underlying contradictions could be bypassed (Graff 5).

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It is important to recognize that disciplinary components of interdisciplinary study are interactive rather than adjunctive; therefore, skillful choice of appropriate methods, approaches and practices from various fields could only benefit overall comprehension of the subject. Moreover, the interaction between different disciplines helps to blur the sense of distance between them and bring together discursive constructions from the opposite ends of a disciplinary spectrum (Moran 109). It can hardly be denied that dynamic relationships between the range of organizing concepts of Canadian Studies testify to the contemporary relevance of interdisciplinarity.

Works Cited

Graff, Harvey J. Undisciplining Knowledge. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015. Print.

Graupner, Helmut and Phillip Tahmindjis. Sexuality and Human Rights. Binghamton, NY: Harrington Park Press, 2014. Print.

Hoerder, Dirk. To Know Our Many Selves: From the Study of Canada to Canadian Studies. Edmonton: AU Press, 2010. Print.

Knopf, Kerstin. Decolonizing The Lens of Power. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2008. Print.

Mookerjea, Sourayan, Imre Szeman, and Gail Faurschou. Canadian Cultural Studies. Durham: Duke University Press, 2009. Print.

Moran, Joe. Interdisciplinarity. London: Routledge, 2010. Print.

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