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Episode 46 Part 2: Shazia Hafiz Ramji Interviews David Chariandy

Feb 1, 2023

In the second part of this interview, David Chariandy continues his conversation with Shazia Hafiz Ramji. They discuss various engaging subjects. The academy, theory, and research-creation discourse are some of the topics they addressed. David also talks about his forthcoming two books. He expands on the concepts of the technology of seeing and the colonial gaze and their connection with the representation of racialized people. We hope you enjoy this courageous conversation.


Shazia Hafiz Ramji’s writing was shortlisted for the Malahat Review’s 2022 Open Season Award for Fiction and the 2022 Montreal International Poetry Prize. She is the author of Port of Being, a book of poems drawn from field recordings, surveillance maps, and overheard conversations to reclaim the author’s experience of being stalked. It was a finalist for the 2019 Vancouver Book Award, BC Book Prizes, Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, winner of the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry, and has been assigned in classes taught by David Chariandy and Chelene Knight. Shazia is a PhD student in English at the University of Calgary. She lives in Calgary and Vancouver.

David Chariandy teaches contemporary literature, and specializes in Black, Caribbean, and Canadian fiction. He also teaches creative writing. His scholarly criticism has been published in journals such as Callaloo, Transition Magazine, The Journal of West Indian Literature, Postcolonial Text, The Global South, and Topia, as well as in academic books such as The Routledge Companion to Caribbean Literature and The Oxford Handbook of Canadian Literature. He has co-edited three special issues of journals, most recently Transition Magazine 124 “Writing Black Canadas.” His first novel, entitled Soucouyant, was nominated for eleven literary awards, including the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Award. His second novel entitled Brother won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, the Toronto Book Award, the Ethel Wilson Book Prize (BC Book Prizes), and was named a book of the year by The Globe and Mail, The National Post, The Toronto Star, The New York City Public Library, Kirkus Reviews, Esquire Magazine, and The Guardian, among other periodicals and institutions. His latest work is of creative non-fiction entitled I’ve Been Meaning To Tell You: A Letter To My Daughter. David’s books have been published internationally and translated into several languages. He is a 2019 winner of Yale’s Windham-Campbell Prize for a body of fiction.

Show Notes

4:00 – On texts borne of straining against, such as M. NourbeSe Philip’s Zong.

7:17 – The film adaptation of Brother, directed by Clement Virgo.

11:00 – Dionne Brand’s Theory quotes four dissertations: David Chariandy’s, Christina Sharpe’s, Rinaldo Walcott’s, and Leslie Sanders’.

11:50: – David’s dissertation on Black Canadian literature and the existential struggle of writing a dissertation.

15:11 – On Jordan Abel’s Nishga, research-creation, and Indigenous methods.

16:46 – The awkward connection between the market and the institution.

18:02 – David’s book of historical fiction.

19:00 – The port city of Seville, and the rise of the “figure” and the notion of mimesis in western painting to confront legacies of realism in narrative.

19:57 – Walter Benjamin: “There is no great work of art that isn’t a testament to barbarism.”

20:37 – The way of seeing, the technology of seeing, is part of the colonial project.

21:10 – “How am I engaging with the legacies of novelistic realism as it ties to a specific legacy of colonial expansion, colonial education, colonial meaning?”

26:00 – On representations of racialized people compromised by the colonial gaze: “That thin – thinnest – thread of recognition going from me to that person lost to history. I’d like to imagine that and I am imagining that.”

27:00 – On The Black Tudors, Francis Drake the slave trader and explorer, and spotting Vancouver.

28:26 – Diego the circumnavigator, who could have spotted Vancouver.

29:43 – David Scott and the “conscripts of modernity.”

30:37 – “That’s all I do: glimpses.”

30:50 – Nature of Blood by Caryl Phillips.

31:09 – John Keene’s Counternarratives.

32:04 – “I think I would be an editor if I was a filmmaker.”

33:05 – Editing and ethics of what one can relate re: the road trip scene in Soucouyant.

TIA House recognizes the generous support of the Canada Research Chairs program and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. We also appreciate the support of the Faculty of Arts and the Department of English at the University of Calgary, where our offices are housed, as well as the guidance of Marc Stoeckle at the Taylor Family Digital Library.

TIA House is run by Larissa Lai, Shuyin Yu, Ryan Stearne, Shazia Ramji, Rebecca Geleyn, Mikka Jacobsen, Benjamin Ghan, Amy LeBlanc, Marc Lynch, and Mahmoud Ababneh.
Our Intro/Outro music is Monarch of the Streets by Loyalty Freak Music, accessed from the Free Music Archive.

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