Within the presentation I will be exploring the feasibility of experiencing oneself as a self within a context of continual displacement. Springboarding from An Yountae’s recent work in The Perspectives in Continental Philosophy series, The Decolonial Abyss: Mysticism and Cosmopolitics from the Ruins, I will translate some of Yountae’s insights regarding the creolized self into my neighbourhood: an urban poor, mentally ill, and substance abuse ridden locale. Transposing Yountae’s work into the cosmopolitan context of Vancouver—wherein there is an im/possibility of stability with/in constant dis/placement, which undermines and conceptions of the self built on resolve or stable experiences of the world—and increasing the rhetorical flourish of my articulation of the abyss will hopefully enable the audience to feel the unsettled ground that is the basis of individual’s self-understanding in my neighbourhood.
The presentation will approach the topic spatially through the neighbourhood that is Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and at points I will plunge temporally (historically) into those same places where multiple dislocations of people have occurred. By prioritizing a physical space the paper will collide refugees and refuges in their (dis)placed communities. The collisions will continue through an interaction with the overlapping histories of displacement that have occurred in the same location, from a Coast Salish settlement, to an ecosystem, Asian Town, Jap Town during WWII, and Hogans Alley (Vancouver’s black community). Concluding with a more focused exploration of selves within the current gentrification driven squeeze of the “24 block” to the “8 block.”