Urban Heterotopias and Racialization in Kim Barry Brunhuber’s Kameleon Man


This paper reads Kim Barry Brunhuber’s novel Kameleon Man as an important exploration of different heterotopian spaces offering a reflection of our contemporary society in terms of the production and consumption of culture, racialization and identity. Stacey Schmidt, a twenty-one year-old black student, appears as a modern flâneur moving in urban landscapes from one heteretopia to the next in his quest for success in the fashion industry as a mixed-race model. He is also acutely aware of his own shifting positionality hinging on the ambiguous sign and site of the hyphen, which has been described by Fred Wah as that marked (or unmarked) space that both binds and divides. This heno-poetic (Grk heno-, one) punct, this flag of the many in the one, yet 'less than one and double' (Bhabha 177), is the operable tool that both compounds difference and underlines sameness (Faking 72-73). Using an interdisciplinary methodology, I will draw from the European philosophical tradition of Foucault and Benjamin as well as from urban studies, and will put these in conversation with some recent Canadian critical mixed-race theory in order to bring into view the specificity of Stacey’s experience as an urban, racialized, mixed-race Canadian man.

This article “Urban Heterotopias and Racialization in Kim Barry Brunhuber’s Kameleon Man” originally appeared in Canadian Literature 214 (Autumn 2012): 68-89.

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