Feminist Critique Here and Now – Introduction

This readers’ forum comes together around the continued role of feminist theory and feminist analysis in literary studies in these lands claimed as Canada. It is a pleasure for us to be thinking together on this topic with this stellar group of feminist scholars.


In curating this issue, we wanted to take the pulse of feminist critique in current scholarship, in keeping with the focus of this special issue as a whole. As a result, we reached out to these scholars—and several others, whom we also thank for considering our request—with an invitation to reflect on this matter. In soliciting these forum pieces, we wanted to leave the style and structure fairly open. We were interested in diverse pieces, whether more academic or more personal, more literary studies–oriented or more open in approach. We simply asked one question and invited prospective contributors to write a short response each: How does feminism resonate in your work, here and now? The resulting collection is enlivening, moving, provocative; it reminds us of who we want to be as feminist scholars.


We tried to survey people in different parts of the country, at different stages of their careers, and in different areas of study within the broader field of CanLit. We were also interested in how academics
enact feminism as praxis and lived experience, not just as a critical lens to apply to texts.


The pieces we received are diverse and speak to the depth and breadth of the field. But in spite of their diversity, we see a number of themes resonating through these pieces: feminist affects; feminism as praxis; the university as a patriarchal institution; the in/visibility and ubiquity of feminist work; feminist reading practices; grounded voice as/and theory, vulnerability, embodiment. We organized the forum pieces in a way that we hope emphasizes these thematic resonances.


What does this pulse we have taken tell us about where feminist critique is at? This might not be a question we can answer, but we are okay with resisting the impulse to synthesize these responses too neatly. Rather, we ask, how do these pieces story outwards the complexities and contingencies of feminist critique in this moment and in this place?


We hope that the following conversation is as important to you as it is to us.


Aubrey Jean Hanson (PhD) is a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta and an Associate Professor at the University of Calgary’s Werklund School of Education. Aubrey works in the areas of curriculum studies and Indigenous education. She is the author of Literatures, Communities, and Learning: Conversations with Indigenous Writers (Wilfred Laurier UP, 2020).


Heather Milne is a Professor of English at the University of Winnipeg. She works in the areas of poetics, feminist theory, queer theory, and museum studies. She is the author of Poetry Matters: Neoliberalism, Affect, and the Posthuman in Twenty-First Century North American Feminist Poetics (U of Iowa P) and editor of Social Poesis: The Poetry of Rachel Zolf (Wilfred Laurier UP 2018) and Prismatic Publics: Innovative Canadian Women’s Poetry and Poetics (Coach House Books, 2009). Her co-edited collection of essays, Museum Queeries: Two-Spirit, Indigiqueer, and LGBTTQ* Interventions into Museums and Curation (co-edited with Angela Failler, Sabrina Mark, and Michelle McGeough), is forthcoming with Jageillonian UP in 2024.

Please note that works on the Canadian Literature website may not be the final versions as they appear in the journal, as additional editing may take place between the web and print versions. If you are quoting reviews, articles, and/or poems from the Canadian Literature website, please indicate the date of access.