Indigenous Literature and the Arts of Community

Deadline extended to June 30, 2016 from March 15, 2016

This special issue of Canadian Literature was inspired by the inaugural gathering of the Indigenous Literary Studies Association (ILSA), entitled “The Arts of Community,” which was held at Six Nations of the Grand River in October 2015. Seeking to catalyze and continue the conversations developed at that event, Canadian Literature invites submissions that explore new ways of thinking about Indigenous literary arts and community engagement.

We invite submissions by scholars, knowledge-keepers, artists, and community members that consider questions pertaining to community and Indigenous literature. We welcome academic papers, as well as creative critical pieces in alternative formats, for potential inclusion in a print issue of the journal and/or an affiliated online resource hub at We are particularly interested in work that pursues strategies for moving beyond academic lip-service regarding “community consultation,” which too often replicates colonial power structures, and instead discusses methods of building relationships among scholars, artists, educational institutions, and Indigenous communities and nations based on reciprocity and respect. We therefore solicit submissions that engage with Indigenous literary arts to consider how research can become more accountable to the interests, concerns, and intellectual pursuits of Indigenous communities. Imagining literary creativity expansively, we welcome work that engages with literature, film, theatre, storytelling, song, hip hop, and other forms of narrative expression.

While open to all submissions dealing with Indigenous literary arts, we encourage work that engages with the following topics:

  • the reciprocal influences of the arts on the meaning of “community” and of communities on the meaning of “art”
  • the role of narrative arts in depicting, defining, addressing, and creating Indigenous communities
  • the role of Indigenous communities in refining, expanding, and challenging understandings of art
  • the responsibilities of artists and/or scholars to the communities of which they are part and to the communities addressed by and in their work
  • the ethics of mobilizing and/or demobilizing community-specific Indigenous knowledge in scholarship or art
  • the capacity of methodologies and practices prioritized in Indigenous literary studies to serve the needs of Indigenous communities

Given the significance of place to Indigenous understandings of community, and in acknowledgement of the territories in which the inaugural gathering of ILSA was held, we also invite work dealing with Haudenosaunee narrative arts, the literary history (and future) of Six Nations, and the legacy of E. Pauline Johnson Tekahionwake.

The deadline for submissions is March 15, 2016. All papers submitted will undergo a formal peer review process through Canadian Literature. Essays should follow current MLA bibliographic format (MLA Handbook, 7th ed.) Maximum word length for articles is 6500 words, which includes endnotes and works cited.