MA Creative Thesis Defense for Qian Hu

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2:00pm in Carleton Hall, Room 304

Title - Exorcizing through Ghosts: Haunting Representations in Chinese-Canadian Literature

Ghosts and race have seemed to be inseparable ever since the earliest colonial encounters. The demonization of the colonized in colonial discourse has then become the critical target of postcolonial scholars, and the postcolonial gothic, as a critical response to colonial gothic, has become increasingly prevalent. Amid this postcolonial gothic trend, Canadian writers of Chinese heritage have also employed gothic tropes of ghosts and haunting to voice and empower their marginalized Chinese community in Canada. This thesis studies representations of haunting in the selected works of three Chinese-Canadian novelists, including Paul Yee’s frontier gothic texts, Wayson Choy’s The Jade Peony (1995) and Paper Shadows (2000), and Larissa Lai’s When Fox is a Thousand (1995). Through the reading of those literary texts, I attempt to examine how representations of haunting in these novels are deliberately adopted as effective diasporic strategies to recover the lost histories of the early Chinese workers in Canada, to disclose the unspeakable secrets hidden in the Chinese Canadians’ past migration history, and to appease, if possible, the sense, either personal or communal or both, of non-belonging in the construction of diasporic identity.

Students, faculty, staff, and the public are welcome!