2016 (Calgary)

Here is the program for the ACQL’s annual conference, which will take place at the Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Calgary, May 28-30, 2016.

Dear Members,

Here are the calls for papers for two member-organized sessions for our 2016 conference. We encourage you to participate by submitting a proposal to one of these calls for papers, or to the ACQL general call for papers, “Engaging Society Through Literature and Criticism.” The deadline for all paper proposals is Feb. 1 2016Finally, please note that our conference will run from May 28-30, not May 28-31 as previously stated.

Gender, Sex and Race Issues in French-Canadian Literature: Feminist, Queer and Intersectional Perspectives

Workshop organized by Pierre-Luc Landry (Assistant Professor, Royal Military College
of Canada) and Mathieu Simard (Ph.D. student, University of Ottawa)

In 2013, in Écrire au féminin au Canada français, Johanne Melançon observed that “since the early 1970s, several women spoke out in Acadia, in francophone Ontario and the West, but few works have been studied until now.” Therefore, Melançon proposed in her book “to look at the writings of these women” rather than develop “a set of feminine criticisms”. Entitled Gender, Sex and Race issues in French-Canadian Literature: Feminist, Queer and Intersectional Perspectives, this workshop aims to both continue and complicate this reflection. We invite researchers to study depictions of sex, gender and race relations as well as the representation of non-traditional sexualities. Participants may present on any French-Canadian text regardless of the author’s gender.

The workshop aims more specifically to understand how to articulate issues of gender, sex and race in French-Canadian literary discourse. For example, participants could analyze gender destabilization strategies – whether through the displacement and disguise of the categories of sex or gender, or their complete neutralization – and the construction of relations of domination in the representation of sexuality or social, economic and material issues of sex, gender and race. Participants could also take an intersectional perspective (Kimberlé Crenshaw, 1991). Intersectionality “contributes a new complexity to the understanding of hierarchies and relations of domination” and “reveals a more complex reality” in which oppressions “interact dynamically” (Maillé, 2014). Participants could thus consider the construction of subjectivities by asking themselves, for example, how the French-Canadian subject, already dominated because of its minority language status, plays with – even “performs” (Butler, 1990) – those other forms of domination that may be constituted by sex, gender, race or even sexuality.

The workshop will shed new light on French-Canadian literature by examining issues of race, sex, gender and sexual orientation. It will not confine itself to a single theoretical perspective, whether queer theories or gender studies. Inclusive from the outset, it will be open to feminist studies, postcolonial and decolonial studies, to political analysis of literary texts, to discourse analysis, to sociocriticism, to narratology, to theories of reception, etc. Any contemporary French-Canadian text can be studied and Indigenous literary works in the French language may also be considered.

This workshop is organized as part of the symposium CAUCTF at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences to be held at the University of Calgary from May 28 to June 3, 2016. Paper proposals (300 words), with contact information and a bio-bibliography of the author, must be sent to the workshop supervisors (Pierre-Luc Landry <Pierre-Luc.Landry@rmc.ca> and Mathieu Simard <msima050@uOttawa.ca>) by February 1, 2016.

Works Cited

BUTLER, Judith, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, New York, Routledge, coll. “Thinking Gender”, 1990, 172 p.

CRENSHAW, Kimberlé, “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and

Violence against Women of Color”, in Stanford Law Review, 1991, vol. 43, n° 6,

p. 1241–1299.

MAILLÉ, Chantal (2014), “intersectional approach, postcolonial theory and differences issues in the Anglo-Saxon and French feminisms” in Politics and Society, Volume 33, number 1, p. 41-60.

MELANÇON, Johanne (dir.), Écrire au féminin au Canada français, Sudbury, Prise de Parole, coll. “Agora”, 2013, 316 p.

Queer Disruptions of Rural Time-Space
Panel organized by Zishad Lak and Jennifer Baker (University of Ottawa)

Rural spaces can be said to be constructed in three dimensions of time: the genealogical,
the quotidian, and the cyclical. Progress within this context is often defined through the
propagation of productive family units and farms: the property of both family and, by
extension, of the colonial state. Understanding of time and space in these settings is
therefore deeply influenced by socio-cultural assumptions about the nature of landscape,
work, sexuality, and leisure time. Characters and plots that disidentify with this time-space fragment and interrogate its stability and naturalness. This panel seeks to examine
the queer resistance and the fragmentation that reveals the constructed nature of the ideal
rural landscape in Canadian rural novels.
Proposals might speak to a wide variety of topics and their relation to rural constructions
of space and time, including but not limited to:
• The absence of/erasure of indigenous organizations of time-space
• Rural work and Queerness
• Queerness and rural genres (georgic, pastoral, agrarianism)
• Folk cultures and Timelessness
• Indigenousness and “temporal ghettos”
• Rural Ecologies and Queer Sexualities

Please send your proposal (300 words) in English or in French to the following email
addresses no later than February 1, 2016: zlak081@uottawa.ca and

Survival: New Perspectives on the Work of Marie-Célie Agnant

(joint session with APFUCC)

Published in Quebec, Haiti and France, and translated into many languages, the work of Marie-Célie Agnant, comprising novels, poems, stories and texts for youth, enjoys an international reputation.

For this native of Port-au-Prince, who has lived in Quebec since 1970, literature can give a voice to those forgotten by history and expose contemporary social realities. While Agnant’s texts regularly address themes of exile and the relation to the past and memory, they go beyond the individual experience to touch, in one way or another, readers who, henceforth, are aware of the fragility and singularity of the human experience. Many critical essays have approached Agnant’s work from postcolonial, metafeminist, and mythocritical perspectives. From the poetics of wandering, the figure of Medea, to putting a complex otherness into discourse, Agnant’s texts denounce, question and inspire.

Our age is often conceptualized as being “the end of an era” as well as “the era of the end,” as demonstrated by contemporary philosophical reflections (Slavoj Žižek and the end of capitalism, Michel Serres and the time of crisis, the feeling of the end in Paul Chamberland, old emotional attachments in Berlant). A reactualization of the apocalyptic discourse has become omnipresent both in the field of popular culture and in the literary arts. We would like to look at the matrix of survival in the work of Marie-Célie Agnant.

Therefore, we invite participants to reflect on several questions, including the following:

Who survives?

How do Agnant’s texts address the question of survival? Which lives are valued more, are more worthy of being lived, as suggested by Judith Butler (Precarious Life, 2004)?

“Survival” as a strategy of “Life”

From the eponymous characters of Sara to those of Emma and Rosa, how does resilience inhabit Agnant’s work? What methods and strategies are used?

The space of survival

How is survival related to space and temporality? How does Agnant evoke the concept of habitability or of chronotope (Bakhtin, Foucault)?

A poetics of survival?

How is the survival matrix placed in the speech setting? What is the role of the poétique du cri? Is saying the unsayable already survival? Is it sufficient?

Leaders of the workshop:

Adrien Guyot (aguyot@ualberta.ca)

Marie Carrière (carriere@ualberta.ca)

Deadline for submitting proposals: Feburary 1, 2016