Biographical Erasure as Oppression

  • Denise Gastaldo Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto


In this short paper I argue that the migratory journey of many newcomers to Canada is marked by an experience of biographical erasure, which is detrimental to their health and wellbeing. First, I present some contextual considerations about migration, and mention some of my own experiences as an immigrant to introduce the concept of biographical erasure. In the second part of the paper, I present three poems that illustrate how biographical erasure shapes the experiences of research participants. While the notion of erasure was initially described in the introduction to these poems (Gastaldo, 2004), in this article, I expand the concept inspired by the idea of biographical emptying, an expression utilized by the Brazilian journalist and poet, Fabricio Carpinejar (2012).