Conferences / Colloques


“The Poetics and Ethics of ‘Learning With’: Indigenous, Canadian, and Québécois Feminist Production Today”


In October 2018, the CLC and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology held an international conference on “The Poetics and Ethics of ‘Living With’: Indigenous, Canadian, and Québécois Feminist Production Today,” which gathered over 30 speakers in Banff, Canada. For four intense days, we discussed different representations of “living with” as a radical form of encounter, engagement, and care. In this second iteration, “The Poetics and Ethics of ‘Learning With’: Indigenous, Canadian, and Québécois Feminist Production Today,” we seek to continue thinking together about these topics, while placing an emphasis on the notion of “learning with,” which we envision as a methodological, pedagogical, as well as aesthetic position with transformative ethical consequences. 


Online Schedule International Conference

Zoom Link

  • Use this link for all sessions, except for webinars
  • Times indicated in MST (Alberta) & GMT+1 (Norway)


November 16, 2020

Opening Keynote Lecture by Prof. Isabel Altamirano-Jiménez (CRC in Comparative Indigenous Feminist Studies, U. of Alberta, Canada)
  • “Resource Extraction, Relationality and Resurgence: Towards a Body Land Pedagogy”

January 27, 2021

11am MST / 19pm GMT+1

Guest Writer: Alicia Elliott
  • "The Colonialism-Depression Link"
Watch the webinar with Alicia Elliot from January 27, 2021

February 3, 2021

9am MST / 17pm GMT+1

Learning with Indigenous Pedagogies and Activism

Mylène Gamache (University of Manitoba, Canada)
  • “Becoming Critical: Learning with Indigenous Women’s Stories”
Tuula Sharma Vassvik (Independent Scholar, Sápmi/Norway)
  • “Standing Rock as a Place of Learning: Strengthening Indigenous Identities”
Amanda Fayant (Researcher and Artist, Treaty 4, Canada, based in Norway)
  • “The Resilience Factor: Learning and Un-Learning with Indigenous Voices”

February 10, 2021

12pm MST / 20pm GMT+1

Guest Writer: Lucas Crawford (University of New Brunswick, Canada)
  • “Belated Bris of the Brainsick: Reading and Chatter”
Watch the webinar with Lucas Crawford from February 10, 2021

March 10, 2021

9am MST / 17pm GMT+1

Performance Lecture: Stones and the Destabilization of Safe Ethical Space

Zahra Bayati (University of Gothenburg, Sweden)

Helen Eriksen (University of Agder, Norway)

Gry O. Ulrichsen (NTNU, Norway)

March 24, 2021

10am MST / 18pm GMT+1

Learning with Feminist Life Writing and Creative Nonfiction

Margery Fee (University of British Columbia, Canada)
  • “Learning With Indigenous Women’s Life Writing”
Elise Couture-Grondin (Simon Fraser University, Canada)
  • “Learning about Kinship with Jovette Marchessault’s Autobiographical Self”
Veronika Schuchter (Oxford University, UK)
  • “‘The future is menopausal’: Un/Learning With Feminist Menopause Imaginaries in Canadian Writing”

March 31, 2021

10am MST / 18pm GMT+1

Guest Writer: Cicely Belle Blain (Consultant & Writer, Vancouver, Canada)
  • “Burning Sugar: A Reading & Conversation"

April 14, 2021

10am MST / 18pmGMT+1

Learning with Indigenous Ways of Knowing

Ellen Marie Jensen (Centre for Women’s and Gender Research, UiT The Arctic University of Norway)
  • “Thinking oktasašvuohta: Storytelling Approaches in Research & Education”
Anne Quéma (Acadia University, Canada)
  • “‘a party, a séance, a powwow, a wake’: (Dis)(re)learning with in Liz Howard’s Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent

April 21, 2021

Keynote Lecture by Dr. Erin Soros (Cornell University, US)
  • “‘Kiwehtahiwew’:  Coming Home, Transforming Carceral Care in Birdie

April 28, 2021

Guest Artist: Sissel M. Bergh (Artist, Southwestern Sapmi/state of Norway)

Watch the webinar with Sissel M. Bergh from April 28, 2021

May 5, 2021

10am MST / 19pm GMT+1

Panel: ‘Before she came, after he left’: Telling Queer Sámi Stories

Elisabeth Stubberud (NTNU, Norlandsforskning)

Marja Bål Nango (Film Director, Scriptwriter, Producer)

May 19, 2021

Keynote Lecture by Prof. Sherry Farrell-Racette (Visual Arts Department, University of Regina, Canada)

Registration for May 19, 2021

 Watch the 2020 Keynote Lecture on YouTube

Wednesday, November 16, 2020, 10:00am (MDT) / 18:00pm (Norway)

Digital Keynote Lecture: Prof. Isabel Altamirano-Jimenez

(Canada Research Chair in Comparative Indigenous Feminist Studies, University of Alberta, Canada)

"Resource Extraction, Relationality and Resurgence: Towards a Body Land Pedagogy"

My presentation explores the nexus resource extraction, embodied experiences, and Indigenous resurgence. Focusing the anti-mining struggle of the Zapotec community of Calpulalpan in Oaxaca, Mexico, I examine how Indigenous women challenge and imagine the resurgence of Indigenous communal practices in transformational ways. Learning with Indigenous women, I outline a body land pedagogy that centers the ontological relationship between the human and non-human worlds but also the present, conscious, and engaged actions that uphold and maintain Indigenous relationality.

This Keynote Lecture is part of the international conference, “The Poetics and Ethics of ‘Learning With’: Indigenous, Canadian, and Québécois Feminist Production Today”, organized by the Department of Teacher Education (English Section) at NTNU (Norway) and the Canadian Literature Centre (CLC) at the University of Alberta (Canada).


October 11-14, 2019

The Ethics and Poetics of “Living With” / Les éthiques et poétiques du «vivre avec»


“The Poetics and Ethics of ‘Living With’: Indigenous, Canadian and Québécois Feminist Production Today”/ “Les poétiques et éthiques du <<vivre avec>>: Productions féministe autochtones, canadiennes et québécoises de nos jours,” took place at the Banff Centre, Alberta, from October 11-14, 2018. It included keynotes by Kim Anderson, Alexandre Baril, Naïma Hamrouni, and Cheryl Suzack. The conference also boasted a round table of authors featuring Roxane Desjardins, Marilyn Dumont, and Larissa Lai.

Political and historical events, such as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Report, the Idle No More movement, Donald Trump’s immigration ban, Black Lives Matter, the ongoing refugee crises, recent controversies around cultural appropriation, environmental catastrophes, and the recurring display of systemic sexual and racial violence underline the consistent inequalities of perpetuated colonial spaces in this globalized world, as well as the often painful confrontation of different worldviews and perspectives. These are crucial concerns that have been widely discussed by Indigenous, feminist, and anti-racist theorists and cultural practitioners. The various forms of social justice intervention that have emerged in academic, public, and popular cultural spaces have further exposed the persistence of historical patterns of oppression, domination, and complicity. Explorations of the poetics and ethics of “living with” might help revisit, understand, denounce, and resist these fast and slow violences.

Des événements historiques et politiques tels que la Commission et le Rapport de la vérité et de la réconciliation du Canada, les mouvements Idle No More et Black Lives Matter, le décret anti-immigration de Donald Trump, les crises de réfugiées qui sont en cours, les récentes controverses entourant l’appropriation culturelle, les catastrophes environnementales, ainsi que la persistance systémique de la violence sexualisée et racisée soulignent les constantes inégalités perpétuées par les espaces coloniaux dans un monde globalisé, en plus des difficiles confrontations entre les différentes perspectives et visions du monde. Ce sont des préoccupations cruciales qui ont été largement discutées par des thé et culturel.le.s autochtones, féministes et anti-racistes, et diverses formes d’intervention de justice sociale ont été faites dans les milieux scientifiques, publics, et culturels populaires afin d’exposer encore davantage la persistance de motifs historiques d’oppression, de domination et de complicité. Les explorations éthiques et poétiques du « vivre avec » pourraient aider à revisiter, comprendre, dénoncer et résister à ces violences lentes et accélérées.

To view the call for papers, click here.

To view the full programme, click here.


September 22-25, 2016

"Maladies of the Soul, Emotion, Affect: Indigenous, Canadian, and Québécois Writings in the Crossfire of a New Turn"

A Conference Organized by the Canadian Literature Centre at the University of Alberta
and the Canadian Studies Centre at the University of Innsbruck


Confirmed Keynotes

  1. Daniel Heath Justice, University of British Columbia
  2. Smaro Kamboureli, University of Toronto
  3. Daniel Laforest, University of Alberta

Round-Table of Invited Authors

  1. Nicole Brossard, Montreal, Quebec
  2. Louise Dupré, Montreal, Quebec
  3. Katherena Vermette, Winnipeg, Manitoba
  4. Aritha van Herk, Calgary, Alberta

According to D. Bachmann-Medick, a scientific turn is not synonymous with the radical reorientation of a single discipline but basically provides a new pluri- and transdisciplinary perspective complementing and reinforcing already existing approaches. A new turn does not supplant another but becomes part of a dynamic process of competing forces, which eventually may give rise to new categories of analysis and concepts. Studying both the general implications and the positive effects and deficits of such a turn is particularly rewarding when it comes to comparing different academic traditions and – as is the case with this transatlantic and transdisciplinary conference – different literary productions written in different languages.

In the wake of the conference “Crisis and Beyond,” held at the University of Innsbruck in 2015, “Maladies of the Soul, Emotion, Affect” not only responds to recent attention to affect, or the “affective turn” dubbed by Patricia Clough, but also investigates the impact of previous forms of research both on emotions and cognition on the study of Indigenous, Canadian and Québécois writings in English and French. If empathy and agency have evolved as new guiding principles in some fields of literary analysis, their roots can be found in such classical disciplines as poetics, rhetoric, or hermeneutics (Th. Anz), and also in the focus on agency advocated by the Constance school of reception theory. While selecting contemporary Indigenous, Canadian and Québécois writings in English and French as a body of investigation, the participants are encouraged to explore the emotional and affective implications of the process of literary communication, including both conceptual and empirical research and covering the following aspects:

  • the emotional and affective habitus of the producer (the “real” author), her / his intentional or non-intentional use of techniques of emotionalisation, her / his definition of a specific poetics, and their possible impact on the text
  • the emotional and affective response of the “real” reader to these techniques
  • the text as a vehicle of emotions or affects which names, discusses or presents them as parts of the mental habitus of the protagonists (Th. Anz); the aesthetic question of how such processes are evoked (use of metaphors, inscription of the body, syntax of the unspeakable, etc.).

The focus on contemporary literature necessarily confronts us with S. Žižek’s assessment of the 21st century as the “apocalyptic zero point” and S. Ahmed’s, L. Berlant’s and others’ warnings of the West’s “cruel” attachments to neoliberal optimism. S. Ngai identifies “ugly feelings” while M.C. Nussbaum addresses the ethics of care as an affective, and alternative, form of knowledge, agency, and democracy (J. Tronto).

  • And so what are the affects and emotions that index the particularity of our literary moment or our moment of crisis?
  • How does intimacy or privacy respond to publicness?
  • What is today’s equivalent of Romantic ennui and melancholy?
  • Do situations of exile and migration enhance the new “maladies of the soul” (J. Kristeva)?
  • Do authors ask questions of liveliness and animacy (M.Y. Chen)?
  • Which lives today are considered worth living and are recognized as such (J. Butler)?
  • How might Indigenous literary and critical interventions undo the very categorizations and labels suggested by this call for papers and enable us to tell different stories (D.H. Justice)?

These and other lines of critical inquiry – on the basis of the above-mentioned emotional and affective implications of literary communication – are designed to allow participants to approach affect, emotion, and the new maladies of the soul of this 21st century, a task which will advance terminological, methodological, and theoretical knowledge both in the fields of affect and emotion and of text analysis.

In the treatment of this description, we encourage comparative, multidisciplinary, and interdisciplinary perspectives and methodologies. We invite proposals of traditional 20-minute papers as well as other forms of presentation such as short 10-minute position papers, round-tables, or pecha kucha presentations. Complete panel proposals (of 3 or 4 papers) are also highly encouraged.

Proposals (250 words per paper), in English or in French, with a short biographical note (50 words), should be submitted to by February 1, 2016.

Organizing Committee

Review Committee

  • Albert Braz, University of Alberta
  • Evelyne Gagnon, University of Alberta
  • Simon Harel, Université de Montréal
  • Larissa Lai, University of Calgary
  • Brigit Mertz-Baumgartner, University of Innsbruck

This second conference will take place at the Banff Centre in Canada September 22-25, 2016. Situated in Banff National Park, surrounded by the magnificent scenery of the Rockies, the Banff Centre is a unique place to promote the arts and all disciplines on a Canadian and on an international level.


September 30 - October 2, 2015

"Crisis and Beyond: The Literatures of Canada and Quebec"

University of Innsbruck, Austria


In the midst of global violence, unrest, and environmental disaster, a sense of crisis
encapsulates us. According to Slavoj Žižek in Living in the End Times (2010), “the global
capitalist system is approaching an apocalyptic zero point,” comprised of “the ecological
crisis, the consequences of the biogenetic revolution, imbalances within the system itself
(problems with intellectual property; forthcoming struggles over raw materials, food and
water), and the explosive growth of social divisions and exclusions.” On the other hand,
recent theorizations in the field of affect studies, such as Lauren Berlant’s Cruel
Optimism (2011), prompt us not only to rethink our attachments to previously held
notions of the good life – attachments that have led to our contemporary crises – but to
articulate new modes of being or becoming. Writers in turn intervene in ways of thinking
about and relating to a time of crisis. In the post-9/11 backdrop of the critical essays of
L’horizon du fragment (2004) Nicole Brossard articulates her “desire to take up again the
senseless quest for meaning and beauty” while other writers rely on derision, humor, and
irony to show ways and means of “how to succeed in one’s hypermodernity and save the
rest of one’s life” (see Nicolas Langelier, 2010; Nicolas Dickner, 2009).
Organized by the Canadian Studies Centre (CSC) at the University of Innsbruck and the
Canadian Literature Centre (CLC) at the University of Alberta, this two-part bilingual
(English-French) conference seeks to explore how crisis directs or transforms First
Nations, Québécois, and Canadian writings in English and French, and how authors and
intellectuals endeavour to counterbalance the social, economic, and ideological
insecurities we live in. Are there identifiable thematic or stylistic characteristics that mark
a literature of crisis, in crisis, and leading beyond it? We seek to understand how writing
deals – on either an aesthetic, a thematic, a political, or a personal plane – with global
disorder and which strategies it employs to stand up against the hauntings of planetary
death, ideological and epistemological collapse, financial breakdown, the contemporary
legacies of history, environmental disaster, or the electronic age. How can crisis merge,
through writing, with deliberate mobilization, political resistance, radical transgression,
and agency towards social change and transformation? Can irony – or even humor –
counterbalance disaster and give humanity new hope? We are interested in all forms of
narratives (fictional, poetic, non-fictional, theoretical, cinematic, performative) of
vulnerability, trauma or dystopia, and in ways that lead beyond crisis. Of particular
interest are productions that reveal First Nations, Québécois, and Canadian literatures as
transnational, cross-border, postcolonial, feminist, or transgender practices.

Among other related lines of critical inquiry, participants are encouraged to consider the
following questions:

  • What is the relationship between crisis and vulnerability, fatigue, or nostalgia?
  • Can these elements figure as a position of connection, openness, ethics, and
  • social change?
  • How do uncertainties about the present – conveyed through a sense of
  • lateness, ending, or apocalyptic apprehension – emerge in literature?
  • How are historiographical writing, testimony, and the ethics of those practices
  • determined by crisis?
  • How can feminist, queer, and transgender readings reconfigure our
  • understanding of crisis?
  • How does the electronic shift in communication produce a sense of
  • instantaneity and anxiety of unmapped and rapidly transformed territories?
  • What are the positive effects of modern communication methods and how do
  • they affect literary production?
  • How does the body experience crisis? What are the relationships between
  • crisis, trauma, writing, corporeality, affect, and embodiment?
  • How do literatures negotiate boundaries: between the local and the global,
  • between material and virtual environments, between different times and
  • spaces, between the human and the non-human?
  • Does the critical predominance of the prefix “post” (postmodernism,
  • postcolonialism, postfeminism, postnationalism, or more recently, posthuman)
  • figure today as a sense of an ending or of a dawning? Does the “post”
  • announce the creation of new and alternative poetic and political paradigms?
  • What new ethical, political, and aesthetic constructions emerge in literature in
  • an age of information and surveillance and in the very decry of damage,
  • violence, and the violation of human rights?
  • What new futurities emerge from dystopian writing? Does dystopian writing
  • substitute the need for new utopias?
  • Is the writing of crisis at the beginning of the 21st century a “First World”
  • (Alfred Sauvy) phenomenon? How do the literatures of the so-called
  • developed, capitalist, and industrial countries extend to concrete experiences
  • of Canada’s First Nations and of the so-called “Third World”?
  • Is crisis writing a prerogative of the privileged?

In the treatment of any of these possible and other related topics, we encourage
comparative, multidisciplinary, and interdisciplinary perspectives and methodologies. We
invite proposals of traditional 20-minute papers as well as other forms of presentation
such as short 10-minute position papers, panel discussions, or pecha kucha presentations.
Conference or 3-4 people panel proposals (250 words), in English or French, with a
short biographical note (50 words), should be submitted to Ursula Moser
( and Marie Carrière ( by January 1,


  • Ursula Moser, Director, Canadian Studies Centre, University of Innsbruck,
  • Chair of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures
  • Marie Carrière, Director, Canadian Literature Center/Centre de littérature
  • canadienne, University of Alberta
  • Conference Committee 2015
  • Birgit Däwes, University of Vienna
  • Kit Dobson, Mount Royal University
  • Doris G. Eibl, University of Innsbruck
  • Evelyne Gagnon, University of Alberta
  • Adrien Guyot, University of Alberta
  • Libe Garcia Zarranz, University of Innsbruck
  • Gudrun M. Grabher, University of Innsbruck
  • Daniel Laforest, University of Alberta
  • Birgit Mertz-Baumgartner, University of Innsbruck
  • Katharina Pöllmann, University of Innsbruck
  • Helga Ramsey-Kurz, University of Innsbruck
  • Srilata Ravi, University of Alberta

The first symposium will take place in the beautiful historic city of Innsbruck from
September 30 to October 2, 2015. Innsbruck is situated in the valley of the river Inn at the
heart of the Alps in the west of Austria. It is close both to the Italian and to the German
borders. For further information concerning the Canadian Studies Centre of the
University of Innsbruck please consult

The second symposium will take place at the Banff Centre in Canada in September 2016.
There will be a separate call for papers. Situated in the Banff National Park, surrounded
by the magnificent scenery of the Rockies, the Banff Centre is a unique place to promote
the arts and all scientific disciplines on a Canadian and on an international level.


November 15-17, 2013

Affecting Women’s Writing in Canada and Québec Today/ L’affect et l’écriture des femmes au Québec et au Canada aujourd’hui

Université de Montréal


Keynote Speaker:

  • Patricia T. Clough (CUNY, New York)
Invited Speakers:

  • Evelyne Ledoux-Beaugrand (Ghent University, Belgium).
  • Belén Martín-Lucas (University of Vigo, Spain)
  • Catherine Mavrikakis (Author, Université de Montréal, QC)
  • Gail Scott (Author, Université de Montréal, QC)
  • Maïté Snauwaert (University of Alberta, AB)

Organizing Committee:

  • Marie Carrière, Dir. of the Canadian Literature Centre (U. of Alberta)
  • Libe García Zarranz, 2010 Trudeau Scholar/ English and Film Studies (U. of Alberta)
  • Simon Harel, 2009 Trudeau Fellow/ Dir. du département de littérature comparée (U. de Montréal)
  • Daniel Laforest, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies (U. of Alberta)

For the Program please CLICK HERE.





May 24 - 26, 2013

Words in 3 Dimensions Conference


Place: Grant MacEwan University, Edmonton, Alberta.

Get the best of the writing, editing and publishing worlds at the Words in 3 Dimensions conference. The Editors’ Association of Canada-Prairie Provinces Branch, Get Publishing Communications Society and Writers’ Guild of Alberta have teamed up to bring you one of the most inspiring literary conferences to reach Alberta in years. 

The Canadian Literature Centre is proud to be the sponsor of the Friday evening Keynote: Alistair MacLeod in Conversation with Shelagh Rogers.

Shelagh Rogers is a veteran broadcast journalist, an Officer of the Order of Canada, and the first-ever ambassador-at-large for the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough—because she believes we are all in the same boat. Currently, she hosts CBC Radio’s The Next Chapter, a program devoted to writers and songwriters.

Come listen to Rogers, one of Canada’s finest interviewers in conversation with Alistair MacLeod, one of Canada’s finest writers.

MacLeod has published two collections of stories: The Lost Salt Gift of Blood (1976) and As Birds Bring Forth the Sun and Other Stories (1986). In 1999, his novel about Scottish émigrés to Cape Breton, No Great Mischief, won the prestigious 2001 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.


October 12-14, 2012

Women’s Writing in Canada & Québec Today: Alliances/Transgressions/Betrayals

The Banff Centre, Banff, Alberta


Organizing Committee:

  • Simon Harel, Director of the Department of Comparative Literature, Université de Montréal, and 2009 Trudeau Fellow —
  • Marie Carrière, Director of the Canadian Literature Centre / Centre de littérature canadienne, University of Alberta —
  • Daniel Laforest, Assistant Professor, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta —
  • Libe García Zarranz, PhD Candidate in English and Film Studies, University of Alberta, and 2010 Trudeau and Killam Scholar —

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Christl Verduyn (Davidson Chair in Canadian Studies, Director of the Centre of Canadian Studies, Mount Allison University, NB)
  • Shani Mootoo (Author, Toronto, ON)
  • Kim Thuy (Author, Montreal, QC)

Focusing on the first decade of the 21st century, this two-part conference aims to expose the multiple forms, directions, and intersections of Québécois and Canadian women’s writing. In an attempt to foster new collaborations and departures, these twin conferences look for points of convergence and rupture between Canadian and Québécois women writers in the contemporary literary panorama in terms of the aesthetic and political concerns of literary texts, and also of the approaches and methodologies that critics adopt to engage with these writings. We firmly believe that a fruitful dialogue between what has been commonly conceived as opposite literary traditions in Anglophone Canada, Québec and Francophone Canada is imperative in the contemporary moment in order to envision alternative forms of coalition, resistance, and struggle for women writing in Canada today. Through side-by-side and/or comparative examinations of women’s writing produced in Canada and Québec, the conferences will not necessarily attempt to bridge traditions, but rather to dislodge naive accounts and perceptions of the relationship between Québécois and Canadian women’s writing. We are interested in engaging with those dissenting voices, traditions and practices within contemporary women’s writing that advocate for the creation of alternative logics of desire and embodiment, a reconfiguration of social relations, and the formulation of alternative ethical and political positions.

The first conference will take place at The Banff Centre from October 12-14, 2012. This event will coincide with the international writers festival WordFest, thus offering an excellent opportunity to foster conversations between scholars, writers and artists in the community. Located in Banff National Park, overlooking the breathtaking Rocky Mountains, The Banff Centre has become a key space for the development of the arts and cultural scenes not only in Alberta and the rest of Canada, but also internationally. With its new mission Inspiring Creativity, the Centre stands as an iconic space invested in the proliferation of learning and knowledge exchange.

The second conference will take place in Montréal in the spring of 2013. A different call for papers for this event will circulate later.

Proposals, submitted in English or in French, may address any form of contemporary writing by women in Québec or Canada, and focus on (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Collaboration and coalitions
  • Betrayals and disloyalties
  • Contact zones and border crossings
  • The politics and the poetics of the ‘trans-‘: transnational women’s writing, transculturation, transnational poetics, transgender literature
  • Ethical choices and practices
  • Subjectivity and agency
  • Gendered and racialized spaces
  • Queer practices and authorship
  • The body politic
  • Corporeality and embodiment
  • Interdisciplinary pedagogies
  • Un-narrated urban/ rural spaces
  • Contemporary turns in the Humanities: ethical turn, material turn, the affective turn
  • Social movements and women’s writing
  • Feminism(s) today
  • Approaches, methodologies, and theory


October 14-15, 2011

Spaces/Memories: 2nd International Conference of the Canadian Literature Centre


Time: 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (Friday, October 14 & Saturday, October 15)

Place: Alumni House, University of Alberta (11515 Saskatchewan Drive)

Keynote Speakers:

  • J. Edward Chamberlin (University of Toronto)
  • Sherry Simon (Concordia University)

More information:

Preliminary conference programme: Spaces/Memories tentative programme


As we saw in the first conference of the Canadian Literature Centre in the Spring of 2009, Canadian literature is becoming exceptionally difficult to conceive of in terms of national literature. Canadian literature still has its canons, milestones and founders, but its history and its potential are nevertheless unfolding as a series of forms that move from a self-conscious, deliberate interculturality to an often unconscious, tacit transculturality. Beyond this apparent heterogeneity, we saw the emergence of two notions that have not been lost on researchers gathered for the first CLC colloquium: space and memory. These are fields of inquiry that, in order to do justice to their omnipresence in the literary corpus, it seems to us wise to put in the plural. Thus we propose: spaces, memories.

With their breadth of scope, these two fields prompt a multiplicity of questions about, and responses to, Canadian literature. Thus, we should put “Canadian Literature” in the plural as well, since as we could see from the proceedings of the first conference published by the CLC (Transplanting Canada: Seedlings, CLC Studies, vol. 1, 2009), spaces and memories seem like appropriate notions to explore with a view to their expansion, their extension.

In thinking of the importance of space, place and frontiers in Canadian literature and criticism, this conference will engage with the imaginative powers of Canada’s domestic and global geographies. Topics that might be addressed include:

  • urban space in literature and the figure of the literary city;
  • geo- and ecopolitics and criticisms;
  • the material space of Canadian publishing, including corporate histories, public funding and censorship, archives, festivals, and the promotion of Canadian literature overseas;
  • representations of frontier spaces in early Canadian literature and the persistence of the frontier in modern and contemporary literatures;
  • memorialized spaces and literatures of remembering;
  • cosmopolitanism;
  • regional spaces in Canadian literary production;
  • the international perceptions of Canadian literature along with the elastic boundaries of what is considered Canadian;
  • constructions and perceptions of “the North” or the “americanity”;
  • borders, passports, migration, refugees, and the construction of illegal cross-border movements;
  • racialised geographies;
  • space and the representation of a national past, present, or future.

Memory unspools as something that is both diachronic and synchronic. Diachronically, the great autobiographical tendency that goes across the whole of contemporary western literature, and is only getting stronger in contemporary life and literary production, is a breeding ground for the subjective romance. Bildungsromans, family histories, self-examinations via collective identities, migration and belonging, integration or the loss of inherited memory, migration and immigration narratives all help to reclaim a trans-generational or maternal connection to the country of origin. They encompass French and English poetry and prose, all the while constructing a transcultural and trans-subjective “thickness.” Synchronically, memory’s territory is constructed in relation to exterior, foreign, faraway places, which remain contemporary. This territory then becomes an attempt at writing a history of the present, of creating a shared way of experiencing time. It’s thus an echo of the memory process itself, made out of other languages, other memories, and other imagined countries, of journeys between the country, the landscape, and their imaginary counterparts. All of these approaches invite us to diversify the gaze we cast on Canadian literature, or to make Canadian literature the laboratory of a renewed reading of these approaches.

The CLC invites all interested researchers, in Canada or abroad, to send us their proposal. The Centre is open to all display and theoretical approaches, and a special consideration for the following areas of research, which will be at the heart of the Centre’s activities for the next three years:

  1. Transcultural and transnational thought
  2. Canadian comparative literature
  3. Cultural production
  4. Francophone literature of western Canada 


September 30 - October 3, 2010

CWRC Canadian Women Writers Conference: Connecting Texts and Generations


Time: 12:00pm

Place: Alumni House, University of Alberta

An Interdisciplinary, International Conference

The Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory (CWRC, pronounced “quirk”) will provide a digital platform for new collaborations in humanities research. Supporting team-based scholarship, digitization and editing, and embedding its material in political, commercial and cultural contexts, CWRC brings digital arts into dialogue with other artistic practices that are part of a contemporary landscape of imaginative and creative work and critical research. CWRC has been successful in securing, under the leadership of Dr. Susan Brown (University of Alberta / University of Guelph), substantial funding from both the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and provincial funding bodies.

CWRC’s centerpiece is a Canadian Women Writers project, a radically interdisciplinary, collaborative and bilingual research initiative that will be developed across three primary modules: 1) a virtual archive of textual, visual, and audiovisual materials relevant to research in women’s writing in Canada; 2) a searchable, expandable, user-producer textbase of historical, bio-critical data on women’s writing in Canada; 3) an interactive forum/salon for the circulation of discussion, new textual, audio and visual material, and readers’ and writers’ communities.

This gathering will be the first of up to three conferences planned around this flagship project of CWRC. This venture with multilingual, multi-genre, and multi-media content is anchored in the premise that digital and electronic instruments are key to enabling and producing new meanings in embodied, experiential, participatory ways. In coordinated collaboration with related major projects partnered with CWRC (TransCanada Institute; Editing Modernism in Canada;, among others), this Canadian Women Writers initiative aims to bring into alignment established and emergent histories, to integrate divergent perspectives on history, and to engage users as producers in a variety of textual, visual, and audio formats.

The conference will bring together scholars, writers, booksellers, librarians, publishers, and software designers, along with invited keynote speakers, to catalyze discussion — particularly on women’s writing in Canada, literary history, historiography, collaborative methods, and digital and feminist scholarship — through papers, panels, readings, and online hook-ups and demonstrations.

Keynote Speakers:

  • Nicole Brossard (Author, Montréal)
  • Louise Dennys (Executive Publisher and Vice-President, Knopf Canada, Random House Canada, Vintage Canada)
  • Lucie Hotte (Research Chair on the Literatures and Cultures of Francophone Canada, University of Ottawa)
  • Rosemary Sullivan (Author and Canada Research Chair, Department of English, University of Toronto)

We invite papers that illuminate the vast diversity of Canadian women’s writing, past and present, in all genres and formats (printed text, manuscripts, journalism, screenwriting, graphic novels, songs, music, performance art, artists’ books), of all cultures, regions, and linguistic groups. Papers should be relevant to CWRC’s emphasis on collaboration and digital scholarship. They may:

  1. comment on the critical reception of Aboriginal, minority and/or multilingual writing
  2. explore the potential for comparative study and analysis through an integrated online history and/or its implications for Canadian Comparative Literature
  3. pursue both historical specificity and trans-historical connections
  4. consider the plurality of Canadian women’s literary histories
  5. examine these histories in relation to various versions of the nation or a transnational perspective
  6. address the practicalities of the marketplace
  7. interrogate distinctions between popular and elite, subversive and insider writing
  8. investigate platforms necessary to make Wikipedia-like resources literary, creative, scholarly and extensible
  9. address the limitations of current available sites (e.g. lone databases) and the potentials of interlinked or integrated knowledge systems
  10. explore modes of circulating, disseminating and expanding an integrated history
  11. offer frames for reading digital works as media systems, social practices, or cultural networks
  12. offer examples of using digital tools to produce new kinds of cultural or historical analysis
  13. illustrate the emergence of new forms of technological infrastructure and media

Forward abstract (500 words), along with a one-page CV, in English or in French, to:

Deadline for submission: 29 March 2010

Members of the conference committee:

  • Dr. Susan Brown, University of Alberta/Guelph University
  • Dr. Marie Carrière, University of Alberta
  • Dr. Patricia Demers, University of Alberta
  • Dr. Cecily Devereux, University of Alberta
  • Dr. Carole Gerson, Simon Fraser University
  • Dr. Christl Verduyn, Mount Allison University


March 19, 2010

CLC Graduate Students Colloquium: “MultiCultiCanada 2010”

Imagining and Representing Identities in Canada: Words and Images of The Cultural Mosaic

Time: 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM

Place: Alumni House (11515 Saskatchewan Drive), University of Alberta

The Canadian Literature Centre (CLC), the Canadian Studies Institute and the Graduate students of the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies of the University of Alberta are pleased to invite you to the first edition of the Multiculticanada Graduate Students Colloquium.

Keynote Address:

Marie Vautier, Director, University of Victoria, “The transcultured autobiographical novel in Canada: religiosity and postcolonialisms.”

Canada has become a source of inspiration for numerous countries in terms of integration and multiculturalism. As a result, we would like to take this opportunity to explore the way in which texts, images, and other mediums construct and represent the idea of Canada as a cultural mosaic and the controversial questions that come with the notion of multiculturalism and the concept of “transcultural” in Canada” With this in mind, the colloquium participants are presenting papers from a wide array of disciplines that deal with literary texts, visual works or other media that underscore or problematize questions of multiculturalism and the “transcultural” in Canada.

Download the program: Program 1 and Program 2

Following the conference, selected papers will be considered for publication in the journal International Journal of Canadian Studies. This conference is being generously supported by the Canadian Studies Institute (U of A, Campus Saint-Jean) and the Canadian Literature Centre (U of A, north campus).


March 6-7, 2009

“Transplanting Canada”: An Inaugural CLC Colloquium


Proceedings from the colloquium, Transplanting Canada: Seedlings is now available!

Read the program: Colloquium Program (pdf version)

The Canadian Literature Centre/ Centre de littérature canadienne (CLC) at the University of Alberta seeks to bring together researchers who are interested in the ways in which the literatures of Canada can be said to “travel” or “move” from one “place” to the other. Lest anyone be put off by this preponderance of “scare quotes,” let us just say that we are hoping to welcome all manner of scholarship devoted to the mutability and flexibility of Canada’s literatures. In honour of our 2009 Kreisel Lecturer Dany Laferrière, who will speak at the University of Alberta on the eve of the colloquium (March 5), we would especially welcome work on his writing, and the multiple transplantations (from Port-au-Prince to Montreal to Miami, from novel to film, from journalism to fiction) that his work illustrates. Other possible topics include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Expatriate, immigrant, emigrant and migrant writers and literatures
  • Canadian literature (in any language) as a continental, or an American (South and North) project
  • Canadian literature (in any language) as it is read or taught in Europe/Africa/Asia/rest of Americas
  • Canadian literature (in any language) as part of a pan-indigenous project (connected to New Zealand, Australia, etc.)
  • Aboriginal literature across the Canada-US border; Joseph Boyden’s New Orleans, Louise Erdrich’s “French Indians,” etc.
  • The role of textuality in indigenous literatures; syllabics vs. roman text, aboriginal languages adopted and used in European forms (such as the novel), etc.
  • Quebec literature as it is read or taught in English Canada
  • English-Canadian literature as it is read or taught in Quebec
  • Acadian, Québécois, Franco-Ontarian and Western literatures as part of La Francophonie
  • Has “Commonwealth Literature” a future?
  • English-Canadian texts translated into European French
  • Quebec texts translated into U.S. English
  • Canadian literatures translated into minority languages (Irish Gaelic, Scots, Catalan, Breton, etc.)
  • Aboriginal critics reading non-Aboriginal texts
  • Moves between media (from literature to film, from film to theatre, etc.)
  • Moves between traditional forms of writing and avant-garde narratives
  • Moves between forms (Laferrière, Godbout from essayist to novelist to filmmaker; Atwood, Brand from poet to novelist to critic)
  • New perspectives on travel literature
  • Space as a key metaphor in criticism
  • Move between the exurban (rural or wilderness) and the urban/metropolitan
  • Transplantation/rewriting/transmission/circulation of Canadian myths in today’s writings (the wilderness, the rural, the North)
  • Canadian literatures moving into cyberspace
  • Canadian literatures as they camouflage their geo-cultural origins
  • Transculture as an identity and an aesthetics
  • Feminism from first, second to third wave, from meta to post, from public to private

Researchers are strongly encouraged to bring work in progress to the table. Possible formats will not be limited to traditional 20-minute conference papers, although these are welcome, but will include panel and roundtable discussions of shorter (10- or 15-minute) presentations of current research. Since the CLC’s primary goal is to foster future collaboration among researchers interested in the many voyages that continue to define Canada’s literatures, participants will be asked to envision or demonstrate how their projects might benefit from or fit into larger collaborative endeavours.

Please submit 250-word proposals for papers or for shorter, more informal presentations, as well as a 50-word bio, in either French or English, indicating which approach (conference paper or informal presentation) you would like to adopt. The deadline for proposals is January 9, 2009. However, we encourage participants to submit their proposal sooner, and notices of acceptance will be given as quickly as possible.