Call and Response-ability: Black Canadian Art and the Question of Audience 

Organized by Karina Vernon and Winfried Siemerling

Black Canadian creative works—including literature, visual art, music, and film – go out into the world with various aims and intentions, but they cannot control their reception. They often contain nonetheless indications, explicitly or implicitly, of audience(s) and possible responses their creators have in mind. 

We are interested in papers that explore the signals and strategies within these works that indicate the presence of implied or imagined audiences as elements that contribute to the shape and functioning of the work.   

What are audiences asked to do by these works? How are readers, viewers, or listeners positioned or addressed, and what roles are implied or sketched out for audiences and their potential responses? Do these works address specific audiences?  Do they seek to negotiate tensions between multiple audiences and across racial lines? Do they thematize reader expectations, or seek to avoid some of the implications of representations of race? Do they emphasize or seek to de-spectacularize race in their artistic process and through the creation of characters and narrators? What questions do these texts raise about address, identification, or empathy? 

This panel wants to contribute to the study of formal and rhetorical modes of black Canadian art, and in the process address the absence of race in traditional reader response theory and reception aesthetics.  

Please send paper proposals (no more than 300 words) with a short biography in Word or RTF to the organizers listed below by January 5, 2019. All paper proposals can be written in French or English. Those who propose papers must be members of the ACQL by 1 March 2019. See the ACQL website for membership and registration information. 

Karina Vernon 

Winfried Siemerling