Call for Papers for a Special Issue on “The Concept of Vancouver”

Vancouver, located on the unceded Coast Salish territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-Watuth, and Stó:lō First Nations, is an important urban nexus of art, literature, activism, and other forms of social and political organizing and expression within Canada. While its diversity has led to the emergence of well-developed cultural and political communities, writers and artists in Vancouver have also originated new and innovative collaborations across disciplinary boundaries. Sometimes this transdisciplinary work has been inspired by political causes, such as the environmentalist resistance to pipelines and old-growth logging or the Indigenous-led challenges to the effects of settler-colonialism (including land rights, discussions of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Idle No More, ReMatriate, Red Power, and more) or the ongoing fights against neoliberalism and gentrification (especially of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside). Sometimes this transdisciplinary work has been inspired by aesthetic initiatives, such as the McLuhan-inspired intermedia work (of the Western Front) in the 1960s and 1970s, or the experiments with interdisciplinary Surrealism in the 1970s and 1980s, or the fusion of various visual arts and literary communities across the past century. Authors and artists in the 1960s wrote about Vancouver as a marginal community, outside of the glare of international attention. Today, though, Vancouver’s situation on the west coast as a vibrant hub in a trans-Pacific network of overlapping business and cultural industries demands a reconceptualization of the city that reflects its overwhelming connectedness. For better and for worse, the city has become a cultural capital. Papers are encouraged to address any combination of the arts, literatures, and politics of Vancouver, and the interconnections these have with other scales of engagement, including the national and planetary issues in which Vancouver participates.

Gregg Simpson, "Jou Jouka" (1973). Used with permission.

Gregg Simpson, “Jou Jouka” (1973). Used with permission.

This special issue invites essays that examine the representation of Vancouver in art and literature, that consider individual authors and artists, that explore the state of aesthetic communities (visual, literary, architectural, filmic, etc.) in the city, or that address the confluence of politics and aesthetics. We are particularly interested in papers that explore links between art and resistance, art and the archive and collective/institutional memory, art in the neoliberal gentrification of the city and housing crises, and art and settler-colonial histories and decolonization efforts. We are also interested in papers that consider avant-garde groups and affiliations (such as TISH, the hippy and Beat poets of the 60s and 70s, Press Gang, the Vancouver School of photo-conceptualists, and the Kootenay School of Writing, amongst others), contemporary urban space, the politics of architecture, micro-literary histories, and transnational or transborder considerations. Canadian Literature publishes essays on fiction, poetry, non-fiction, drama, and inter-genre collaborations.

All submissions to Canadian Literature must be original, unpublished work. Essays should follow the bibliographic format of the MLA Handbook, 8th ed. Articles should be between 6,000 and 7,000 words, including endnotes and works cited. Submissions should be uploaded to Canadian Literature’s online submissions system (OJS) by the deadline of August 31, 2017. See our submission guidelines for details.  Expected publication date of the issue is fall 2018.

Guest editors of this issue will be Gregory Betts, Julia Polyck-O’Neill, and Andrew McEwan.