Exalted Subjects: Studies in the Making of Race and Nation in Canada
Questions of national identity, indigenous rights, citizenship, and migration have acquired unprecedented relevance in this age of globalization. In Exalted Subjects, noted feminist scholar Sunera Thobani examines the meanings and complexities of these questions in a Canadian context. Based in the theoretical traditions of political economy and cultural / post-colonial studies, this book examines how the national subject has been conceptualized in Canada at particular historical junctures, and how state policies and popular practices have exalted certain subjects over others.
Foregrounding the concept of 'race' as a critical relation of power, Thobani examines how processes of racialization contribute to sustaining and replenishing the politics of nation formation and national subjectivity. She challenges the popular notion that the significance of racialized practices in Canada has declined in the post Second World War period, and traces key continuities and discontinuities in these practices from Confederation into the present. Drawing on historical sociology and discursive analyses, Thobani examines how the state seeks to 'fix' and 'stabilize' its subjects in relation to the nation's 'others.' A controversial, ground-breaking study, Exalted Subjects makes a major contribution to our understanding of the racialized and gendered underpinnings of both nation and subject formation.