CFP: [General] Contested Spaces: Conflict, Counter-Narrative and Culture From Below in Canadian and Quebecois Lit.

full name / name of organization: 
Domenic Beneventi

Contested Spaces: Conflict, Counter-Narrative an Culture From Below

in Canadian and Québécois Literatures

The state legitimates its ideologies though specific material strategies and practices in the aim
of defining social discourse and those who may participate in its production. If the
normalization and codification of public spaces produces the “proper” citizen who participates
in the consumption of the marketplace, it also produces the obverse - the homeless, the
criminal, the unemployed, the welfare recipient, the declassed migrant, the prisoner, the
dispossessed aboriginal, the racial and linguistic other.

Architectural practices similarly frame social space so that structures of feeling often arise out
of physical divisions that keep “proper” citizens separate from those who are seen as
“improper,” if not unclean, in both public and private spheres: for example, domestics,
migrants, prostitutes, street youth, squatters, and slum dwellers.

Likewise, the recording and monumentalization of preferred historical figures and events and
the elision of others materially produce a built environment concomitant with mainstream
national mythologies and hierarchies of class, gender, and race. Similarly, the production,
dissemination, and archiving of official documents not only produce a body of texts that are
collectively read as the historical record of the nation, but legitimate cultural elites that most
often speak for or represent that nation.

Although these mainstream discursive strategies marginalize alternate histories, communities,
and social movements through ideological violence, the “subaltern” also have agency, and
produce a variety of counter-discourses and narratives which call into question the authority
and legitimacy of the public sphere.

We invite papers which discuss the literary text as the site of contestation, counter-memory and
conflict in Canadian and Québécois literatures. In what ways do marginalized individuals,
communities, and social movements contest, appropriate, and represent their specific
memories, spaces, and identities as counter-discourses of nation or as expressions of culture
from below? How are political, ideological, spatial, and cultural conflict represented in the
literary text?

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

writing working class, “poverty narratives,” homelessness

the literature of carceral space: prisons, internment, and residential schools

the built environment as site of resistance and expression

demonstration, protest, street art, street theatre, graffiti

the alternate histories of testimony, autobiography and memoir

the proper and the improper (body) in social space, the abject

radical knowledge of women in service, women on the streets, women in need

linguistic and cultural conflict and identity politics in Canada and Québec

culture from below as a concept to describe exploitation, marginalization and exclusion, but
also empowerment and agency

Please send 300-500 word abstracts by Sept. 15, 2008, including title, university affiliation,
and contact information to:

 From the Literary Calls for Papers Mailing List
             more information at
Received on Mon May 12 2008 - 14:06:41 EDT