Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription Access

A Poetics of Place in the World-System: West Coast Modernism and the Integration of Vancouver into the Global Economy

Stephen Morton


Considerations of place and the local can help to shed light on the specific ways in which literature and culture have mediated the global process of accumulation and dispossession associated with the capitalist world-system. If social geography and world-systems analysis can help to map and historicise space and place in terms of a global history of capitalist expansion, literature can also help to make sense of the ways in which the unequal and uneven development of capitalist modernity is experienced, understood and contested in specific locations. By situating the West Coast avant-garde poetics associated with the literary magazine TISH and the Kootenay School of Writing in relation to Vancouver’s place in the changing global economic system, this essay considers how the local provides a provisional site for an anti-imperialist poetics that defamiliarizes global processes of capital accumulation and its economies of dispossession and exclusion. In so doing, it suggests that contemporary West Coast experimental writing can be read as a form of peripheral modernism that interrupts the uneven and unequal logic of capitalist modernity and invites readers to reflect on the historical forms of dispossession and exploitation associated with globalization.


Poetics of place, Vancouver, TISH, Kootenay School of Writing, world-systems analysis, Peripheral modernism

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.

The Johns Hopkins University Press

ISSN: 1920-1222

Follow ARIEL on Facebook