Susie O'Brien


In defence of the Canada Council's recent decision to consider 'appropriateness of voice and subject matter in future funding decisions', director Joyce Zemans has argued that 'we have a new need for authenticity.'1 In the context of post-colonial theory, the debate generated by this move seems a bit belated, and the obsession of a settler society for artistic authenticity rather suspect. That the settler cannot, by definition, achieve the authenticity of unequivocal cultural authenticity and connection to place which is often imagined to have characterized pre-colonial society is clear, and, perhaps, ultimately beside the point. The power of authenticity ultimately derives, not from being authentic, which precludes selfconsciousness and hence, the power-producing knowledge of one's own authenticity, but from being able to read, recognize and ultimately own the authenticity of the Other. I want to suggest that the politics of reading, writing and publishing when seen in these terms may be related to the politics of tourism- the ostensible (and perhaps authentic) subject of this paper.



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