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Journal of Education and Development in the Caribbean

Instructive Episodes: The Shifting Positions of the Jamaican Diaspora in Canada

Publication Date: 
June 2012

This paper is interested in the ways in which the everyday experiences of Jamaican Canadians function as accumulated moments that mark their collective journeys across time and place, and reveal the complexity of their dual relationship between Jamaica and Canada. Specifically, the paper uses five uniquely Canadian episodes or incidents, occurring in each of the five decades between 1970 and 2012 (the 50th anniversary of Jamaica's independence from Britain) to examine how Jamaican Canadians claim the right to not just legal, but also social citizenship. The incidents reveal the ongoing contributions of Jamaicans to Canadian social and political life, and how they have consistently pushed the Canadian nation towards action and advancement in immigration law, human rights and multiculturalism; towards critical reflection about the diversity of the population, and the dynamic and shifting terrain of youth counter-culture; and towards the recognition of the national origins of those who serve in important positions.

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