The chapter Whose Transnationalism? Canada, “Clash of Civilizations” Discourse and Arab and Muslim Canadians by Arat-Koc analyzes the problems within multinational society of Canada. According to the author, Canada is not a melting pot as the U.S. and, thereby, members of the different communities, representatives of the different cultural backgrounds try to save their native culture and traditions. As the result, there are a number of misunderstandings between Muslim Canadians and other Canadians.
The central argument of the chapter states that “in the environments of the racism, anti-immigration, and multiculturalism that prevail in many Western states today, the transnational identities of many ethnic minorities get discussed as a way to interrogate and question their “loyalties” to the nation-state in which they are living (Arat-Koc, 2006, p. 216).
The author uses the examples, provides the historical facts in order to support the thesis and to investigate the problem deeper. Thus, the author says that, since 1960s, after the struggle of people of color, the concept of Canadian nation included the historical and traditional elements of all ethnical groups. However, since 1990s, the racial problems in Canada became evident and especially after 11 September 2001 (2006, p. 216).
One can notice that immigrants in Canada are still considered as the transnational subjects, not the part of one common national community. The author supposes that the term “transnational” will be used only in the context of the racial problems, “will be applied to the almost exclusively to racialized groups” (2006, p. 216).
Although the Canadian history demonstrates that racial tolerance was always the basement of the country’s policy, today Canada as an unconditional partner of the United States in foreign policy changes this attitude. Arat-Koc says about “re-whitening of Canadian identity and increased marginalization of its nonwhite minorities” (2005, p. 32).
In order to support the arguments, Arat-Koc cites a number of researches. Such method makes the article more persuasive as the readers can notice that it is not the author’s opinion, it is a point of view that is common for various scientists. Besides, the use of facts and statistics also play a significant role, making the present chapter more persuasive.
The author uses quotations, explores and analyses different aspects within the problem of transnationalism in Canada. In this article, the author summarizes the ideas, compares the different opinions and suggests the methods of solving the problem.
The main topic of this chapter is the analysis of the renewal nationalism in Canada which is “of a transnational kind” (Arat-Koc, 2006, p. 217). According to the author, this nationalism in Canada, Europe and the United States is based on the “clash of civilizations” inside of one country.
The long history of colonization in Canada demonstrates that the country always tried to treat the representatives of the different nations in the same way, providing an opportunity to get the same civil rights. However, on the other hand, “Canada is located in a peripheral location within Western hegemony and is characterized in national mythology as a nation innocent of racism” (Dua, Razack and Warner, 2005).
Canada can be considered as a peacekeeping country that is welcoming for the immigrants. However, Arat-Koc emphasizes that today this issue changes and the problems becomes more evident and deeper. The author indicates that Arabs and Muslims today are perceived as the representatives of the criminalized structures.
Today, the society faces the problem of stereotypical way of thinking where all Muslims are considered as the criminals. Besides, the author indicates that the national identity of Arab and Muslim community increased after 11 September 2001as the result of the position of other communities. This issue is clearly understandable.
When society started to treat every Muslim as the potential terrorist, the members of Muslim communities started to be more oriented inside of their native traditions and culture and be less open for the communication with the representatives of the other communities. It is like a protective measure. Thus, according to Harb, “the negative portrayal of Muslims in the media has in effect constructed this community as the new racialized ‘other’ in Canada and even worse, the ‘enemy from within’” (2008, p. 1).
Supporting the main idea, Arat-Koc asks a great question: transnationalization of the justice or transnationalization of torture? The main conclusion of the author is that this situation should be and can be changed. The term of transnationalism in Canada should not be used in the context of the racial intolerance, racial problems and marginalization of a part of the society.
The findings and conclusions are consistent with the main argument. The author criticizes the measures that Canadian elite uses in order to develop the new national identity. Moreover, the author emphasizes that there is a serious resistance in Canada to the cooperation with the United States in their foreign policy.
The present chapter is clear and convincing. There is no ambiguity or confusing sentences. The author emphasizes her opinion in a very good way. Therefore, I think that the author is successful in supporting the central arguments. The main idea is supported in a clear way. The author provides the examples and statistics. However, on the other hand, there are some statements that I disagree with. First of all, I stated to think is this issue so problem and complicated? This assumption made by the author can be questioned.
During the centuries, the representatives of the different backgrounds were living together, sharing the cultural elements and developing the new common society. Analyzing this article, I found that the author emphasizes that people are unable to live together in a peaceful way, sharing their cultural and traditional elements with each other. There is a high possibility that the representatives of the different communities will be more closed for any dialogue and cooperation.
However, I disagree with this statement. For instance, there is a great example of the United States, the country which was created by the immigrants from the various countries who were able to live, build and develop the country together. Although today the situation is different, as for me, the main idea is still the same. Besides, the process of globalization has a serious impact on all spheres and all nations around the world. The different ethnics learn how to live in the multinational world without racial barriers.
Nevertheless, I think that the author expresses her opinion absolutely clear, the article is persuasive and the problem is evident. Although I disagree with the author about some ideas, in general, it is possible to conclude that the central argument is supporting well and the total value of this work is high.
Arat-Koc, S. (2005). The Disciplinary Boundaries of Canadian Identity After September 11: Civilizational. Identity, Multiculturalism, And the Challenge of Anti-Imperialist Feminism. Social Justice, Vol. 32, No. 4, 32-49.
Arat-Koc, S. (2006). Whose Transnationalism? Canada, “Clash of Civilizations” Discourse, and Arab and Muslim Canadians. In Satzewich V. & Wonq L. (Eds.) Transnational Identities and Practices in Canada (pp. 216-240). Canada: UBC Press.
Dua, E., Razack, N. & Warner J. N. (2005). Race, Racism, and Empire: Reflections on Canada. Social Justice Vol. 32, No. 4.
Harb, H. (2008). New Orientalism: Depictions of Muslims in the Canadian Media. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.ryerson.ca/dissertations/96