The Knot Itself: Tangling with Multiculturalism


  • Sonja Boon Memorial University
  • Deirdre Connolly Independent Scholar



multiculturalism, Canada, identity, autoethnography, knot, found poetry


Multiculturalism has defined Canadian identity, both within and beyond its borders, for fifty years. Supporters laud the policy’s celebration of unity through difference. Critics, meanwhile, argue that this celebration is superficial. Canada’s multiculturalism policy, they say, obscures the workings of power in processes entrenching structural inequalities. Taking a reflexive approach, we—a mixed-race settler immigrant who arrived in Canada as a young child in 1975, and a White settler Canadian born in Halifax in the 1990s—interrogate our experiences and understandings of multiculturalism. Using collaborative autoethnography and found poetry, we examine our affective encounters and engagements with settler multiculturalism. In the process, we tangle with questions of (non)arrival, belonging, migration, branding and identities. Ultimately, we suggest that thinking through the knot and knottiness of multiculturalism can offer a path towards more nuanced and complicated futures.

Author Biographies

Sonja Boon, Memorial University

Sonja Boon is Professor of Gender Studies at Memorial University. The author of four books and numerous articles, she has research interests in life writing/autobiography, autoethnography, feminist theory, and the body. In 2020, she was awarded the Ursula Franklin Award in Gender Studies by the Royal Society of Canada.

Deirdre Connolly, Independent Scholar

Deirdre Connolly is the Sexual Violence Prevention Coordinator for the Labrador office of the Newfoundland and Labrador Sexual Assault Crisis and Prevention Centre. She holds a Graduate Diploma in Gender Studies from Memorial University and a BA in Women's Studies from Mount Saint Vincent University. She is interested in life writing, autoethnography and systems change.


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How to Cite

Boon, S., & Connolly, D. (2022). The Knot Itself: Tangling with Multiculturalism. Journal of the Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies, 19(2), 9–28.