Erin Goheen Glanville (PhD McMaster) is a Lecturer in the Coordinated Arts Program at UBC. Dr Glanville’s community-engaged scholarship studies the intersection of pedagogy and narrative arts in the field of cultural refugee studies, developing critical-creative approaches for using refugee narratives effectively in educational contexts. From 2017-2019, Dr Glanville held a Social Sciences and Humanities Council Postdoctoral Fellowship in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University, “Digital Storytelling as a Method for Critical Dialogue on Refugees in Canada.” Out of that research, she began educational media production under the title Worn Words: Renarrative Media. The first multimedia documentary Borderstory can be found at https://vimeo.com/427545591. Welcomestory will be released later this year. Dr Glanville is on the Executive Committee of UBC’s Centre for Migration Studies and is the editor of Countering Displacements: The Creativity and Resilience of Indigenous and Refugee-ed Peoples (U Alberta Press). Other publications include “Refugee Narrative as Pedagogy” in The Routledge Handbook of Refugee Narratives(forthcoming) and “An Intermedial Pedagogy for Sensing Communities of Shared Fate at the Border” (Intermedialities). Dr Glanville also serves on the Board of Directors for Kinbrace Community Society, which is working on a new housing project that will scale up their human-centred support model.
Discomforted Readers and the Cultural Politics of Genre in Lawrence Hill’s The Illegal
The Illegal by Lawrence Hill was released September 2015, a particularly discomforting political moment when news of asylum seekers was clearing the front pages and debates about Canada’s global responsibilities were determining a federal election. Because of its publication year, overlapping popular genres, and curious reception, The Illegal opens up a valuable conversation about the relationship between Canadian refugee fiction as popular pedagogy and contested imaginaries of the refugee figure within Canada’s projections of a humanitarian national identity. The novel is a playful speculative political thriller that satirizes the hostility of the global community and the ambivalence of state humanitarianism. A number of readers and reviewers have expressed discomfort with the pairing of popular genre fiction with a refugee thematic. This article analyses the book’s reception in online reviews and shared reading events, against a literary reading of the book through the lens of genre. It notes an interpretive gap and asks what cultural refugee studies can learn from this gap about humanitarian reading publics and Canadian refugee literature.
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