From souvenirs of Canada to global dystopia: nostalgic Canada and a globalized world in the work of Douglas Coupland

Giammanco, Rosamaria Stefania (2021). From souvenirs of Canada to global dystopia: nostalgic Canada and a globalized world in the work of Douglas Coupland. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Douglas Coupland is a multifaceted artist: novelist, non-fiction writer and visual artist. Coupland shows his local Vancouver, his nation of Canada and encompasses the global transnational dimension. This thesis sequentially explores each of these geographical marks to analyse the recurrent use of concepts of (cultural) citizenship, settler colonialism, the Canadian postmodern, transnationalism, cosmopolitanism and globalization in a cross-section of Coupland’s oeuvre.

In chapter one, Coupland’s Souvenir of Canada books are discussed. Souvenir of Canada unfolds the national identity and cultural citizenship of Coupland’s Canada through Canadiana. The artistic use of the concept of cultural citizenship in Souvenir of Canada is equally analyzed to categorise the genre of the books.

Chapter two analyzes local citizenship and dystopia in the early 2000s in Coupland’s Vancouver set works Girlfriend in a Coma (1998), Hey Nostradamus! (2003) and his non-fiction book City of Glass (2000). These works are examined through the theoretical ideas of Yi-Fu Tuan to manifest how Coupland’s hometown is simultaneously a place of belonging and uncanniness.

Chapter three addresses the depiction of Canadian cultural identity on the one hand and postmodern detachment and globalization on the other in Coupland’s Monograph Everywhere is Anywhere is Anything is Everything (2014). This chapter builds upon nostalgia, and the use of space-time compression.

Chapter four evidences alienation and dislocation as consequences of globalization and transnationalism in Life after God (1994) and Eleanor Rigby (2004). Putnam is utilized to analyze the effect of globalization on society and also the characters’ axis of movement is taken into account.

Chapter five, through theory of globalization, cosmopolitanism and cultural citizenship, examines personal relationships of Canadians in Coupland’s Generation A (2009) and Player One (2010) as means to deal with looming apocalypse.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama and Creative Studies, Department of English Literature
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F1001 Canada (General)
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
P Language and Literature > PS American literature


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