Surveying CanLit: A Presentation-Interview Panel on Course Syllabi

What does it mean to “survey” CanLit? At the 2018 meetings of ACCUTE at Congress, a panel of faculty members from across Canada convened to reflect upon a number of practical and pedagogical issues that influence their syllabi, the basis of their choices of texts, the notion of “coverage” of the field, the contingencies of course listings, the texts that come in and out of favour over time, and the changing demographic of students. Canadian Literature is pleased to publish the papers and dialogue from that event in “Surveying CanLit.” As organizer Manina Jones writes in her introduction,

In thinking about where “Canlit” happens, much conversation has taken place around high-profile authors, publishers, and social/media outlets. What about “Canlit” in the classroom, the place where many students encounter “Canlit” as a field? . . . When we create so-called “national survey” courses, we define and challenge historical and cultural borders and boundaries that define the field, and, potentially, open it to further inquiry. . . . [This panel] was meant to both model and prompt the kinds of conversations that go into challenging each other to reflect on and rethink the ways we take up the challenge of surveying Canadian literature.

Surveying CanLit” features presentations, brief questions and responses from the following interlocutors:

  • Manina Jones (University of Western Ontario):
    “Introduction: Surveying Canlit”
  • Lily Cho (York University):
    “Surveying Canlit in Four Scenes and a Counterintuitive Argument for Distance”
  • Laura Moss (University of British Columbia):
    “Infinitely Surveying CanLit”
  • Jennifer Andrews (University of New Brunswick):
    “Surveying Canlit: Making Sense of a Crumbling Edifice”
  • Michelle Coupal (University of Regina):
    “Irreconcilable Spaces: The Canlit Survey Course in the Indigenous Sharing and Learning Centre Round Room”
  • Stephanie Oliver (University of Alberta):
    “Confronting CanLit’s ‘Dumpster Fire’ Through Backward Course Design”

L-R: Stephanie Oliver, Michelle Coupal, Jennifer Andrews, Laura Moss, Lily Cho, and Manina Jones. May 28, 2018. ACCUTE, University of Regina.

We are delighted to share the panel conversation here on the Special Projects pages of the Canadian Literature website. Thank you to Manina Jones for creating the panel and organizing this special section.