Thursday, June 22, 2017

Social Studies: Rethinking Culture through some diasporic South Asian history

Close to 20 years ago, I used this 1990 film, I'm British But... to look at the ideas of Culture and how identity shifts in the face of Racism and immigration.  We will only look at the first 10 minutes of this film to see how this connects to some of the Big Ideas relating to Culture and Identity (intentionally capitalized).

This exercise is very interesting as we begin to think about Canada's 150th Birthday.  What does it mean to be a Canadian in this day and age?  Where do our diverse voices fit it?  Where do the voices of Canada's First People fit in?

There is a unique project I read about in a What in the World publication about "Lost Stories" of Canadians during this sesquicentennial year.  This project cannot capture all of the stories of Canadians, but it is working to shine a light on some voices we will not hear:

Significant to understanding Canada's History is recognizing that Canada was considered a colony by both the French and the English.  For some of our discussion in class today, we will be looking at how England colonized a large portion of South Asia.
Many people of South Asian descent moved to the British Empire after this period of time and are British.  Because South Asians are usually racialized because they are not White, they are sometimes not considered British.  Sometimes, people have simple ideas of how people from a particular group are supposed to be.  As you can see, British South Asia is very large and there is a lot of diversity within this space.

Sometimes, when people are racialized, they may be subjected to a type of Xenophobia.  So, while a person may Canadian or British on his or her passport, they may be seen as different or an "other" because they are not from the dominant or powerful cultural group.

I know this sounds very theoretical, but our conversations in class will break these ideas down a lot more.

This is the trailer.  The two parts of the film are here:

A comic twist on this can be seen in the film, Bend it Like Beckham.  The families of the movie, if not born in England, have come from the Punjab state in northern India:,+India,+India/@30.9988703,66.4337852,5z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x391964aa569e7355:0x8fbd263103a38861!8m2!3d31.1471305!4d75.3412179

As we prepare to wrap up our teaching year, we will spend some time discussing the importance of voices and stories in this year of celebration of our nation

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