New Issue: Pandemics, #245

We are thrilled to announce the arrival of Canadian Literature, Issue 245, Pandemics. Christine Kim writes in her editorial:


“Writing of the AIDS epidemic as both a “medical and cultural crisis” (2), Paula Treichler draws our attention to the meanings and metaphors that shape our understandings of AIDS as well as those it has affected. Far from being irrelevant, theory becomes absolutely necessary as we seek to “understand the AIDS epidemic, its interaction with culture and language, the intellectual debates and political initiatives that the epidemic has engendered, . . . and its possibilities for guiding us toward a more humane and enlightened future” (1-2). Treichler’s examination of AIDS as a discursive formation has helped to guide many of us as we attempt to make sense of our complicated and often contradictory experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic. That the coronavirus has circulated globally and yet been mediated so differently by local circumstances and national contexts calls into question the very naming of this event as a global pandemic. Given our differing abilities to protect ourselves from the coronavirus by taking measures such as social distancing, handwashing, and vaccination, which presume fairly spacious living and working conditions, access to running water, and wealthy governments, should we instead conceptualize the pandemic as a series of localized events rather than a global one? Who is imagined to be the subject of these national and global discourses of pandemic public health, and perhaps more importantly, who is excluded? Treichler signals comparable concerns about the cultural politics of representation when she addresses the AIDS epidemic and argues that war is perhaps the most useful metaphor to understand it. For Treichler, attention to these concerns means underscoring the differently distributed effects that the AIDS epidemic has had on the public. She notes that “AIDS is a war whose participants have been in the trenches for years, surrounded daily by death and dying, yet only gradually has the rest of the population come to know that there is a war at all” (2-3). Building on this observation, we can see that our collective understandings of global events such as the AIDS epidemic and the COVID-19 pandemic can only ever be partial if they do not centre marginalized voices.”

  • Christine Kim, “The Cultural Politics of Pandemics Representations”

This issue also features:

  • Articles by Emilia Nielsen, Jason Camlot and Katherine McLeod, Heidi Tiedemann Darroch, Quan Zhou, and Clint Burnham
  • A forum titled “Race, Visuality and COVID-19” by Danielle Wong, Thy Phu, Clare Jen, Neel Ahuja, Melissa Karmen Lee, and Ivetta Sunyoung Kang
  • Poetry by Josh Stewart, Erina Harris, James Warner, D. S. Stymeist, Caroline Misner, Tina Do, Larissa Lai, Canisia Lubrin and Liz Howard
  • Opinions and Notes by Clint Burnham with Kevin Chong, John Paul Catungal and Ethel Tungohan, and Sadie Barker.

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