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Dividing to Connect: An Ethnography of Canal Zone Americans
Marilee R Brewer (author)Jamin R Pelkey (thesis supervisor)Edgar D Trick (second reader)Lori P Gardner (third reader)Trinity Western University SGS (Degree granting institution)
This thesis is a linguistic ethnography of the Americans who moved from the Panama Canal Zone to the U.S. when the Canal was sold to Panama. Theirs was a society of authoritarian socialism, lived beneath the Zone’s official motto: “The Land Divided, The World United.” Close-knit, but wary of outsiders, they called themselves “Zonians.” Using Thomas More’s Utopia as a gestalt for the utopian experience, this study compares the features of More’s Utopia with the Panama Canal Zone. In particular, it examines the utopian gesture of dividing from the old to connect to the new, arguing that the image-schematic metaphor of dividing in order to connect is constitutive of Zonian culture at multiple semiotic levels, from the physical transformation of the earth, to the social construction of group identity to everyday practices involving intercultural relations.
Panama Canal (Panama)—Social conditions—20th century.Panama Canal (Panama)—Race relations—20th century.Panama—Politics and government—1946-Canal Zone—History.Linguistic ethnography.