Finding Common Ground (January 2, 2012) special journal issue
"Where is home?" J. Edward Chamberlin asks us, in If this
is your land, where are your stories? Finding Common Ground. "It may be where we hang our hat, or where our heart is … which may be the same place, or maybe not. It may be where we choose to live … or where we belong, whether we like it or not. It may be all of these things or none of them. Whatever and wherever it is, home is always border country, a place that separates and connects us, a place of possibility for both peace and perilous conflict."
Chamberlin's text takes up contradictions at the heart of
language and story, and considers those narratives, songs,
and ceremonies that keep people together, and that pull us
apart. We all know how to believe, Chamberlin explains
– such is the power of our songs and stories; it is what we
believe that is at the heart of many of our current conflicts.
This theme issue of the Journal of Canadian Studies/Revue
d'études canadiennes addresses issues in peace and conflict
both locally and globally, as well as the role of narrative
in building bridges of understanding between native and
newcomer, self and other, researcher and community – across
disciplines, and between Us and Them. "Finding Common
Ground" seeks to encourage ways of thinking about how
human communities might hold together or drift apart; and
about how what might appear to be deep differences at one
stage may later be reworked as new alliances, institutions,
and histories are built.
The JCS is one of Canada's leading interdisciplinary journals, in which scholars are asked to write from disciplinary predilections out towards a truly informed but non-specialist audience.
This issue of the JCS arises from the Grand River Forum at
Wilfrid Laurier University's Brantford campus, a campus-wide
initiative and academic conference that engaged critically with Chamberlin's text in relation to a range of interdisciplinary research and teaching practices. The topic is broad enough to encompass a great deal of scholarship. We welcome contributions from a range of disciplines including law, religious studies, indigenous studies, environmental studies, journalism, health studies, and others; as well as from those concerned with community engagement, pedagogy, and creative practice.