(CFP) Future Horizons: Canadian Literature and Public Debate in the Digital Age

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    Graham Jensen

    Please consider submitting a proposal for the following conference, which should be of interest to LLC Canadian members.

    Future Horizons: Canadian Literature and Public Debate in the Digital Age
    McMaster University | Hamilton, ON | May 28–29, 2020

    The past few years have demonstrated limitations of and problems with the concept of Canadian literature. In print and online, at conferences and on social media, the value of CanLit has been subject to necessary scrutiny. From the metaphor of CanLit as a “dumpster fire” to Black and Indigenous writers’ critiques of CanLit as racist and colonialist, the language with which we discuss writing in Canada has changed. These discussions—and the online forums in which they unfold—are redefining Canadian cultural production. While many have opposed the very notion of CanLit, new modes of public engagement (social media, podcasting, and so on) have also required us to rethink the public sphere and the discourse that takes place within it.

    Future Horizons is a two-day interdisciplinary conference that will respond to the new, connected relationship between Canadian literature and public discourse. The event will bring together artists, scholars, public intellectuals, literary and cultural critics, and the public to reflect on the content and forms of contemporary Canadian literature and Canadian public discourse. We invite scholarly, creative, and interdisciplinary presentations that address the following questions:

    • How does the history of CanLit inform the current relationship between literary and public discourses?
    • How have historically underrepresented peoples used—and how are they using—creative practices to create alternative public spaces?
    • What challenges do diasporic and Indigenous communities bring to liberal notions of the public sphere?
    • How does neoliberalism influence the relationship between public discourse and literary culture?
    • How does social media transform how we speak about and understand identity, citizenship, and culture?
    • How does technology mediate public conversations about race, Indigeneity, sexuality, and gender?
    • What vision of the humanities, and of the human, are evoked by a critical digital humanities?
    • What might a digital public poetics look like?
    • What does it mean to speak publicly or act as a public intellectual in an age of surveillance and precarity?
    • How do Canadian readers, writers, and critics engage in public criticism today?
    • How has Canadian literature responded to new technological developments for creating and disseminating literature, criticism, and commentary?

    In addition to academic papers, there will also be workshops to support the development of new, experimental projects that  engage the public (starting a podcast, using 3D printing, starting a small press, curating a reading series, analyzing social media, developing a digital literary archive). The conference is hosted in collaboration with the Hamilton Public Library and McMaster University’s Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship. Keynote speakers include M. NourbeSe Philip, Katherine McKittrick, Erin Wunker, and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson.

    We welcome papers, panels, and workshops that draw on a range of expertise and presentation styles, and which are creative, polemical, scholarly, or incendiary. We encourage proposals from historically underrepresented participants including (but not limited to) Black and Indigenous peoples, people of colour, Queer and Trans peoples, and those who are financially precarious. A limited number of travel subsidies are available to support graduate students who wish to present. This conference is generously supported by the John Douglas Taylor Fund at McMaster University, the Centre for Community Engaged Narrative Arts at McMaster University, and the Senator William McMaster Chair in Canadian Literature and Culture.

    Please send 300–500 word paper proposals, and 500–750 word panel or workshop proposals, to canadiansread@gmail.com by December 15, 2019.

    • This topic was modified 3 years, 2 months ago by Graham Jensen.
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