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Cover of issue #222

Current Issue: #222 Recursive Time (Autumn 2014)

Canadian Literature's Issue 222 (Autumn 2014), Recursive Time, is now available. The issue features articles by Hannah McGregor, Aleksandra Bida, Anne Quéma, Nicholas Milne, Jeffrey Aaron Weingarten, and Eric Schmaltz, as well as new Canadian poetry and book reviews.


Margery Fee as McLean Chair in Canadian Studies 2015-2017

June 17, 2015

We are proud to congratulate our editor, Margery Fee, on becoming the 2015-2017 Brenda and David McLean Chair in Canadian Studies.

Fee is the second Canadian Literature editor to be appointed this distinguished position after W. H. New. As Chair, she will be teaching the Senior Seminar and giving the McLean Lectures in Canadian Studies, which will be compiled and published by UBC Press.

From the press release:

In the McLean Lectures, Professor Fee will outline the history of Indigenous texts in the Canadian northwest and model ways to read them. Since the 1990s, literary works by Indigenous writers have been brought into the curriculum. However, oral and written works from earlier periods are rarely included. Instructors are concerned about how to teach these works while respecting their difference. To teach oral stories requires knowledge of national cultural protocols, languages, histories, and worldviews. Prominent early Indigenous written genres—such as life stories, political commentary, and ethnography—require ways of reading that differ from those typically used to analyze the preferred European genres of poetry, fiction, and drama.

Margery Fee’s research in Canadian literary criticism and bibliography, Indigenous literatures and cultures, and Canadian English has provided valuable insights and unique perspectives to the study of literature and nationalism. Her work has been recognized by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Canada Council, and many other awards and distinctions over the course of her career. On top of being a distinguished Canadianist, Fee is also an active UBC faculty member, having served as Associate Dean of Students (1999-2004), Director of Arts One (2005-2008), and Director of Canadian Studies (2005-2008). Since becoming the editor of Canadian Literature eight years ago, Fee has used her expertise to direct over twenty-two issues and counting, including the following special issues:

Once again, congratulations to our wonderful editor and we look forward to her work as the McLean Chair in Canadian Studies.

2014 Canadian Literature Best Essay Prize Winner

June 4, 2015

We are pleased to congratulate the winner of the 2014 Canadian Literature Best Essay Prize, Sam McKegney, for his article "'pain, pleasure, shame. Shame': Masculine Embodiment, Kinship, and Indigenous Reterritorialization” in Canadian Literature #216.

Jury Citation: In focusing "on the coerced alienation of Indigenous men from their own bodies by colonial technologies such as residential schooling," Sam McKegney makes an eloquent case for seeing how this work "served and serves the goal of colonial dispossession." Indeed, he suggests these "coercive alienations lay at the very core of the Canadian nation-building project." McKegney raises vital questions about reintegration and deterritorialization as well as about the ways in which settler scholarship may engage with and honour the testimony of residential school survivors.

Honourable mention goes to David Williams, for his article "Spectres of Time: Seeing Ghosts in Will Bird's Memoirs and Abel Gance's J'accuse" in Canadian Literature #219.

Jury Citation: David Williams' "Spectres of Time" is about ghosts in machines. Comparing Will Bird's First World War memoir, How We Go On (1930), with Abel Gance's silent film, J'Accuse (1919), it traces a series of psychological and artistic inversions:
  • the invasion of modern military technology by the technology of film;
  • the invasion of trench warfare by uncanny apparitions, as reported by soldiers;
  • the invasion of these spirits through the artifice of silent cinema into a hallucinatory temporality evoking a new intensity of mourning.
This is a sophisticated and interdisciplinary study: clearly written, clearly argued, provocative, and always engaging.

Our thanks to ACQL for allowing us to make the announcement at their reception, to the judges—Cecily Devereux, Jon Kertzer, Patricia Merivale, Linda Morra, Laura Moss, and Deena Rymhs—who thoughtfully assessed the essay nominations, and especially to Linda Morra for chairing the panel.

Once again, congratulations to Sam McKegney and David Williams for their remarkable work, and we hope to see everyone again next year.

Call for Statements of Interest: CanLit Guides Workshop

May 29, 2015

What does it mean to teach “Canadian literature” responsibly in higher education today? Over fifty years into the field’s institutionalization and hundreds of years into its creation, nobody knows everything about Canadian writing and criticism. Yet we are still often asked to be both specialists in research and generalists in teaching the literatures of Canada.

As literature teachers, we all have different ways of reconciling this uncertainty. At Canadian Literature, we want to propose an additional strategy: crowdsourcing. This workshop seeks to draw upon our collective expertise to produce teaching materials for our students and one another. CanLit Guides is an online, open educational resource created to supplement classroom learning. In our initial years of development, the guides were written in-house and then peer-reviewed out of house. We are shifting to a new model of chapters written by and credited to area specialists. This workshop is designed to support this new model, calling upon those who teach Canadian literature to write on texts, time periods, research methods, writers, etc. of their choice.

  CanLit Guides Workshop

This workshop will involve participants each bringing a draft chapter on their proposed topic, with background context, teaching approaches, connections to the journal Canadian Literature, discussion questions, and at least one sample assignment. Together, we will workshop these chapters to produce revised versions that will then be refined by the authors and submitted to CanLit Guides to be expedited through our blind peer-review process.

We want to work across generations and skill sets to benefit from our varied experiences in the classroom, so that we can produce materials of value to students and our fellow educators. We intend for the workshop to include people from all levels of academic teaching (from graduate students to senior faculty) and for us to work together beyond hierarchies. Our goal is to bolster the community of Canadian literature specialists who welcome the opportunity to talk about teaching, share what we know, learn from one another, and consider ways to best support our students’ learning.

  Statement of Interest

If you would like to participate in this workshop, please send us a statement of interest, which would include:

  • A 100-word general synopsis of your chapter topic and
  • A 50-word biographical note.

The workshop will take place in Spring 2016, right before Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. More information will be released closer to the date. Since the number of participants will be limited, please indicate your interest as soon as possible. For more information, please see our Call for Statements of Interest flyer. If you have any questions or concerns about the workshop or the draft chapters, contact us using the email below.


Workshop Organizers: Kathryn Grafton and Laura Moss Deadline for Statement of Interest: July 15, 2015 Send to: canlit.guides@ubc.ca

ACQL 2014 Shortlist

May 7, 2015

We are excited to announce that ACQL has just released the finalists for the 2014 Gabrielle Roy Prize (English). This year’s shortlist includes former poetry editor Larissa Lai and other frequent Canadian Literature contributors:

  • Drouin, Jennifer. Shakespeare in Quebec: Nation, Gender, Adaptation. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2014. Print.
  • Lai, Larissa. Slanting I, Imagining We: Asian Canadian Literary Production in the 1980s and 1990s. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2014. Print.
  • McLeod, Neal, ed. Indigenous Poetics in Canada. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2014. Print.
  • Morra, Linda M. Unarrested Archives: Case Studies in Twentieth-Century Canadian Women’s Authorship. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2014. Print.

Starting from our very first issue, Canadian Literature has published numerous articles on and reviews of the eminent author and her works, including a special issue. In her honour, the Gabrielle Roy Prize recognizes the best work of Canadian literary criticism in English and French every year. In 1988, Canadian Literature became the first and only journal to win the Gabrielle Roy Prize for best English book-length studies in Canadian and Québec literary criticism.

The shortlist was chosen by a jury composed of Paul Martin (MacEwan University), Erin Wunker (Dalhousie University), and Tanis MacDonald (Wilfrid Laurier University). Past winners include:

  • Martin, Paul. Sanctioned Ignorance: The Politics of Knowledge Production and the Teaching of Literatures in Canada. Edmonton: U of Alberta P, 2013. Print. (Reviewed here.)
  • Andrès, Bernard. Histoires littéraires des Canadiens au XVIIIe siècle. Quebec City: PUL, 2012. Print. (Reviewed here.)
  • Martin, Keavy. Stories in a New Skin: Approaches to Inuit Literature. Winnipeg: U of Manitoba P, 2012. Print. (Reviewed here.)
  • Cellard, Karine. Leçons de littérature: Un siècle de manuels scolaires au Québec.Montreal: PU Montreal, 2011. Print. (Reviewed here.)
  • Wyile, Herb. Anne of Tim Hortons: Globalization and the Reshaping of Atlantic-Canadian Literature.Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2011. Print. (Reviewed here.)
  • Leclerc, Catherine. Des langues en partage? : Cohabitation du français et de l’anglais en littérature contemporaine. Montreal: XYZ, 2010. Print. (Reviewed here.)
  • Gerson, Carole. Canadian Women in Print, 1750-1918. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2010. Print. (Reviewed here.)

The winner will be announced on May 30th, 2015, at the Gabrielle Roy Prize reception at the Association for Canadian and Quebec Literatures annual conference, which takes place in Ottawa, Ontario, this year. Since spaces at the banquet are now sold out, please contact Sara Jamieson if you would like to be placed on a waiting list (sara_jamieson@carleton.ca).   

Date: May 30, 2015
When: 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Where: Vittoria Trattoria
35 William Street, Byward Market Area
Ottawa, ON

New Issue: Recursive Time #222 (Autumn 2014)

May 6, 2015

Canadian Literature’s Issue 222 (Autumn 2014), Recursive Time, is now available for order. Editor Margery Fee brings together several unexpected elements to make an important point about oral stories and literary studies in her introduction to the issue:

Beowulf and Old English were wheeled into English literary studies in the 1920s around the same time as English literature was formed as a separate university discipline. National literatures were supposed to be grounded in an indigenous oral culture—so the obscure British Beowulf became preferable to the famous Greek Homer. Similarly, many major anthologies of Canadian literature begin with some Indigenous oral poems in translation, although they too were unknown to most Canadian writers and so cannot really be said to ground the Canadian literary tradition. This retroactive claiming of a formerly ignored indigenous tradition was fairly harmless in English literary studies. In Canadian literary studies, it is part of a colonial history that takes over Indigenous culture without doing it justice as something more than the beginning of our literary history. We should not study oral stories here without keeping the history of colonial appropriation clearly in mind.

—Margery Fee, The Princess, the Bear, the Computer, and the King of England

Recursive Time also features articles by Hannah McGregor, Aleksandra Bida, Anne Quéma, Nicholas Milne, Jeffrey Aaron Weingarten, and Eric Schmaltz, as well as new Canadian poetry and book reviews.

The new issue can be ordered through our online store. Happy readings!

Teaching Academic Writing about Literature on the Web

May 6, 2015

Margery Fee (editor of Canadian Literature), Kathryn Grafton (associate editor of CanLit Guides), and Katja Thieme (professor of English at UBC) will deliver a paper, “Teaching Academic Writing about Literature on the Web,” in Edmonton this May. The paper discusses their plan to integrate writing instruction into CanLit Guides so that instructors and students can combine the study of Canadian literature with useful material on how to write in the discipline of literary criticism. The material will include samples of student and academic writing at various stages of revision.

This talk is part of a larger conference on technologies and how they have transformed literary and cultural studies. Digital Diversity 2015: Writing | Feminism | Culture celebrates the twentieth anniversary of The Orlando Project, an ongoing experiment in digital methods that produced Orlando: Women’s Writing in the British Isles, from the Beginnings to the Present. Orlando is an interactive website allows readers to create dynamic inquiries about British women writers from many perspectives.

The panel will take place on May 8, 2015 at Lister Conference Centre, University of Alberta. For more information, please visit the conference website and refer to Digital Diversity Program.

We hope to see you there!

Call for Papers: Asian Canadian Critique Beyond the Nation

April 21, 2015

Guest editors Chris Lee and Christine Kim are welcoming submissions for a special issue of Canadian Literature: Asian Canadian Critique Beyond the Borders.

Asian Canadian critique has conventionally unfolded within nationalist frameworks. From important historical events such as the Chinese Head Tax, Japanese Canadian Internment, and the Komagata Maru Incident, to ongoing struggles over multiculturalism and global migrations, Asian Canadian critique has tended to emphasize the role of the nation-state in the marginalization of racialized populations. This approach has been central to the anti-racist pedagogy of the field, and has been deeply nurtured by its close ties with cultural communities, activists, and social movements. Yet the nationalist framing of Asian Canadian critique has also reinscribed citizenship and national belonging as the basis of political desire, thereby drawing the field back into the assimilatory impulses of multiculturalism.

This special issue invites essays that reflect critically on existing frameworks in Asian Canadian critique and repositions the field in relation to trans-Pacific studies, world systems critique, comparative empires, inter-Asia cultural studies, global indigeneity, the global South, and other paradigms. We are especially interested in essays that question the coherence of Asian Canadian critique, not to mention Asian Canadian objects and topics, through comparative, multilingual, and transnational approaches that destabilize rather than reinforce national epistemologies.

Submissions should be uploaded to Canadian Literature’s online submissions system by the deadline of January 1, 2016. Questions about the special issue may be directed to can.lit@ubc.ca.

For more information, visit our Call for Papers page.

National Poetry Month

April 17, 2015

What poems have you read for National Poetry Month? Can’t decide where to start? We’re already halfway through this annual literary celebration, but poetry editor Stephen Collis has an exciting announcement to make:

When T. S. Eliot dubbed April the cruellest month, he had something about the inseparability of birth and death in mind. In the evolution of April as National Poetry Month, however, we tend to emphasize the birth side of that equation. At Canadian Literature, we certainly look forward to the arrival of dozens of new poetry titles at this time of year, and the reviews and intellectual discussion that should soon follow in their wake. From where we are standing, Canadian small presses and their poets have never seemed so robust.

Maybe we have resurrection on our minds too. This month we will dig into our archives to share a number of poems from past issues of Canadian Literature—some greatest hits that might stoke the fires of new production. We certainly have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to our online archive. Watch for reminders about some of the fine poems we have published, and watch for the excellent poems that will be appearing in upcoming issues.

This year, National Poetry Month focuses around the theme of food and poetry, as inspired by Vancouver Poet Laureate Rachel Rose’s inaugural speech: Food is personal, political, sensual, and powerful. We hope you’ll enjoy this journey through our archives as we serve up some delicious poems on Twitter, every day until the end of the month starting next Monday.

To learn more about Canadian poetry, visit CanLit Guides for an exploration of Poetic Visuality and Experimentation.

Happy readings!

Canadian Literature Best Essay Prize 2014 Shortlist

April 7, 2015

We are pleased to announce the Canadian Literature Best Essay Prize 2014 Shortlist. Each year, Canadian Literature recognizes and celebrates the best article published during the previous annual cycle. Nominees are selected from a pool of approximately 24 articles, and previous winners include Michel Nareau, Meredith Quartermain, Deanna Reder, Susan Gingell, Allison Hargreaves, Daniel Heath Justice, Kristina Bidwell, and Jo-Ann Episkenew.

Editor Margery Fee says:

We hope … to signal our eagerness to receive and recognize the best submissions in our field. We know that some readers are graduate students and junior academics looking for the best examples on which to model their own writing, and one goal of this award is to make it clear what our adjudicators (selected from the editorial team and the editorial board) think is the best. We know that to receive such an award from ones peers is always welcome, and we hope that the award will encourage those who win it to continue to produce their best writing.

The 2014 nominees are as follows:

  • Jamieson, Sara. ‘Surprising Developments’: Midlife in Alice Munro's Who Do You Think You Are? Canadian Literature 217 (2013): 54–69.
  • McKegney, Sam. ‘pain, pleasure, shame. Shame’: Masculine Embodiment, Kinship, and Indigenous Reterritorialization. Canadian Literature 216 (2013): 12–33.
  • Szabo, Lisa. Adventures in Habitat: An Urban Story. Canadian Literature 218 (2013): 67–84.
  • Williams, David. Spectres of Time: Seeing Ghosts in Will Bird's Memoirs and Abel Gance’s J’accuse Canadian Literature 219 (2013): 113-30.

Congratulations to Sara Jamieson, Sam McKegney, Lisa Szabo, and David Williams on their excellent work. The winner will be announced at the Association for Canadian and Quebec Literatures reception at the Congress. Event details can be found at the University of Ottawa's website.

Canada Reads 2015

March 16, 2015

Canada Reads, CBC’s annual battle of the books, takes place this week! Over the next seven days, five celebrity panellists will defend five different books on their adherence to the competition theme. This year, they're searching for the One Book to Break Barriers, which must change perspectives, challenge stereotypes, and illuminate issues. After each debate, a book will be eliminated and the ultimate victor will be crowned the book that all Canadians should read. The debates can be followed online, on the radio, or on the television.

Since its inception in 2002, the program has invited a great amount of critical interest, Canadian Literature included. Associate editor Laura Moss asks:

Why is it imperative that we, those who work on and in Canadian literature, take [Canada Reads] seriously? As a public presentation of a literature that is depicted as coming of age, Canada Reads has helped to open up Canadian literary works to a large market. Over the three years, it has brought eighteen writers’ names into prominence in the public domain. (Margaret Atwood and Yann Martel are listed twice.) It has become an important indicator of public support of the literary arts in Canada.

With these assertions in mind, we published a special issue on the program in 2007. Other critical works on Canada Reads from our journal include:

If you’ve enjoyed reading through longlist as much as we have, see below for a compiled list of works about the longlisted authors from our archives. Reviews of the nominated books are in bold.

Dionne Brand

Reviews of Brand's Works

Articles about Brand

Thomas King

Reviews of King's Works

  • Rev. of The Inconvenient Indian. By Brendan McCormack. Upcoming.

Also see our Governor General's Literary Awards 2014 post for other works about and by Thomas King from our archives.

Lee Maracle

Reviews of Maracle's Works

Articles by Maracle

Articles about Maracle

Saleema Nawaz

Reviews of Nawaz's Works

Eden Robinson

Reviews of Robinson's Works

Articles about Robinson

Doug Saunders

Reviews of Saunders' Works

Mariko Tamaki

Reviews of Tamaki's Works

Kim Thúy

Reviews of Thúy's Works

Miriam Toews

Reviews of Toews' Works

*Also nominated for the 2015 Folio Prize.

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