Politics and Power in Fiction

Politics and Power in Fiction

Panel organized by Élise Lepage and James Mitchell

At a time of climate crisis, migration movements, reconciliation, post-truths, redistribution of resources and wealth, – among many other issues – works of fiction published in Quebec and Canada directly implicate many social issues. It is rare for politics to be openly represented in a novel, but it is undeniable that values underlie, to different degrees, the representations of the world that are given. While power forges narratives to justify political and economic measures that have direct implications in our lives, how, in turn, do literary narratives articulate power through counternarratives? Cultivating nuance and ambiguity, the contemporary novel functions as a laboratory to uncover the ways in which political and economic narratives imposed by the ruling classes affect the lives of individuals, communities, and their environment. This session invites participants to reflect on the ways in which the contemporary novel uses its resources (storytelling, characters, temporality, etc.) to represent political and economic issues.

Possible themes to be addressed:

  • Representing the state and public institution (bureaucracy, public service, infrastructure, policing, health, education)
  • Order versus chaos (N. Klein): security, protest, revolt, and repression
  • Power and minority groups
  • The limits of state power
  • Representations of the collective in an age of individualism
  • Fiction and politics in the context of post-truth
  • Power dynamics and vertical versus horizontal decision making/governance
  • Representations of power and resistance through the democracy of social media

Propositions for papers (no more than 300 words), accompanied by a short biobibliographical note should be sent by 31 January 2021 to the two organising members:

James Mitchell, University of Waterloo, sj2mitchell@uwaterloo.ca

Élise Lepage, University of Waterloo, elepage@uwaterloo.ca

All paper proposals can be written in French or English. Those who propose papers must be members of the ACQL by 1 March 2021. See the ACQL website (https://alcq-acql.ca/members/) for membership and registration information.