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Distributed for Athabasca University Press

The Undiscovered Country

Essays in Canadian Intellectual Culture

In this sequence of essays, Ian Angus engages with themes of identity, power, and the nation as they emerge in contemporary English Canadian philosophical thought, seeking to prepare the groundwork for a critical theory of neoliberal globalization. The essays are organized into three parts. The opening part offers a nuanced critique of the Hegelian confidence and progressivism that has come to dominate Canadian intellectual life. Through an analysis of the work of several prominent Canadian 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’s continuing indebtedness to empire. The second part focuses on national identity and political culture, including the role of Canadian studies as a discipline, adapting its critical method to Canadian political culture. The first two parts culminate in the positive articulation, in Part 3, of author’s own conception, one that is at once more utopian and more tragic than that of the first two parts. Here, Angus develops the concept of locative thought—the thinking of a people who have undergone dispossession, “of a people seeking its place and therefore of a people that has not yet found its place.”

Table of Contents


Preface- ix

PART I: The Dominant Hegelianism of Canadian Intellectual Life

1. Introduction: The Instituting Polemos of English Canadian Culture- 3

2. Charles Taylor’s Account of Modernity- 15

3. James Doull and the Philosophic Task of Our Time- 31

4. C.B. Macpherson’s Developmental Liberalism- 41

5. Athens and Jerusalem? Philosophy and Religion in George Grant’s Thought- 49

PART II: Is Canada a Nation?

6. Introduction: National Identity as Solidarity- 79

7. Winthrop Packard Bell on the Idea of a Nation- 85

8. Canadian Studies: Retrospect and Prospect- 99

9. Gad Horowitz and the Political Culture of English Canada- 121

10. Empire, Border, Place: A Critique of Hardt and Negri’s Concept of Empire- 141

11. The Difference Between Canadian and American Political Cultures Revisited- 161

PART III: Locative Thought

12. Introduction: Philosophy, Culture, Critique- 177

13. Social Movements Versus the Global Neoliberal Regime- 187

14. Continuing Dispossession: Clearances as a Literary and Philosophical Theme- 209

Appendix 1. Jean-Philippe Warren, “Are Multiple Nations the Solution? An Interview with Ian Angus”- 227

Appendix 2. Bob Hanke, “Conversation on the University: An Interview with Ian Angus”- 245

Notes- 269

Publication Credits- 287

Index- 289

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