Settler Colonialism and Quebec and Franco-Canadian Literary Criticism 

Organized by Zishad Lak and Pierre-Luc Landry

In this panel, we wish to discuss the absence of settler colonialism in Quebec and Franco-Canadian literary criticism. We will explore new methodological avenues that could account for narrative strategies in Quebec and French-Canadian writings that obscure Indigenous land occupation, sociality and sovereignty. 

Indeed, settlement colonization, in the Quebec and Canadian context, is very rarely mentioned in French Humanities and Social Sciences Studies; we find only a few occurrences of the term in historiography and in scholarly literature. In literary studies, the term is still very uncommon, used only by a few researchers like Isabelle St-Amand (2015), Élise Couture-Grondin (2016) and Bruno Cornellier (2015). The literary analysis of settler colonialism in English and American Canadian literatures tends to emphasize elisions and absences rather than relying on concrete textual evidence. In fact, these elisions and absences only gain importance in their contextualization within a certain structure, especially that of colonialism. This panel will discuss the ways in which such an approach can be reconciled with the more classical literary criticism in Quebec – largely the result of French post-structuralist immanent criticism – which focuses more on the minority status of Francophone settlers in Canada. We will also study the ways in which these intellectual paradigms diverge, in order to identify the specificities of settlement colonialism as it appears in literary works produced by Canadian Francophone communities. 

Possible topics of reflection:

  • Studies on settlement colonialism and indigenous studies: convergences and divergences;
  • Critical methodologies;
  • Representation of Indigenous characters by foreign writers;
  • Transculturalism and settlement colonialism in Quebec and French-Canadian literatures;
  • Quebec Sovereignty and Indigenous Sovereignty: Convergences and Divergences;
  • Indigenization and “métissage” in Quebec and Franco-Canadian literature;
  • Racial representation of Indigenous characters;
  • Minority status of French-Canadian communities and settlement colonialism;
  • Reflections on terminologies for a study of settlement colonialism;
  • Settlement colonization and self-ethnography.
  • Inauguration process of the settler subjectivity in Quebec and French-Canadian literatures.

Participants should prepare their presentations in advance and distribute them electronically to other participants prior to the event. The interventions will last a maximum of 15 minutes, and the discussions that will emerge will occupy most of the day. 

Please send your proposals (max 300 words) and a short biography (max 150 words) to zlak081@uottawa.ca and pierre-luc.landry@rmc.ca before January 5, 2019. Proposals can be written in English or French. Participants must be members of the ACQL before March 1, 2019. See the ACQL website for membership and registration information. 

Texts cited  

Bruno Cornellier (2015), La « chose indienne » : cinéma et politiques de la représentation autochtone au Québec et au Canada, Montréal, Nota Bene. 

Élise Couture-Grondin (2016), « Analyse antiraciste du rapport au territoire, à l’autre et à l’écriture dans Aimititau! Parlons-nous! », Voix plurielles, vol. 13, no. 2, p. 127-149. 

Isabelle St-Amand (2015), La crise d’Oka en récits: territoire, cinéma et littérature, Québec, Presses de l’Université Laval, coll. « Intercultures ».