Divergence: Departures from the Canon

deadline for submissions: 
February 16, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Queen's Graduate Conference in Literature

Queen’s Graduate Conference in Literature

Date: May 24th and 25th 2024

Call for Papers | Divergence: Departures from the Canon

Deadline Extended - Feb 16th 2024


The Graduate English Society at Queen’s University seeks abstracts for its 2024 hybrid conference, “Divergence: Departures from the Canon.” This conference will feature both academic work and creative writing that speak to divergence, which the Oxford English Dictionary defines as “moving off in different directions from the same point (…) so that the intervening distance continually increases.” The canon, though omnipresent and formidable in the field of literary studies, resists specific definition. What is “the canon”? There are few concepts that are so relatively defined, yet produce such a singular affect in practice. We are eager to see diverse interpretations of the literary canon, including divergence from traditionally accepted scholarly sources.


“Divergence: Departures From The Canon” aims to open avenues of exploration that expand from canonical texts, authors, forms, perspectives, and institutions. In the world of fan communities, the designation “Alternate Universe – Canon Divergence” has been used to demarcate works that contradict, extend, reimagine, and reject their canonical source material.Divergence from the canonical can provide opportunities to critically examine the landscape of literary analysis and of the fictional canon, inviting reflections on who and what is considered to be a canonized author or text, and why. 


We welcome academic presentations and creative works that incorporate divergence or convergence as subject matter. Creative writers are invited to respond to any of the aforementioned prompts and topics, and to consider how their creative work re-envisions a boundless literary imagination, resisting canons in terms of form, genre, narrative, and time. How can the imagination be a radical tool of divergence towards change?


Topics of interest may include, but are not limited to:

  • Divergence in form 
    • Adaptation; film; podcast; digital; “low culture” media
    • Genderbending, genderswap, trans readings of text
  • Divergence in content 
    • Non-canonical texts and authors
    • Resistant reading of the canon
    • The canon in conversation with the ‘other’
  • Divergence in approach
    • Multidisciplinary or multi-theoretical approaches 
    • Canonical & non-canonical curricula in pedagogy
  • Divergence from convention and institution
    • Fanworks, fan studies, and fan communities (Fanfiction.net, Tumblr, Ao3, TikTok) 
    • Forms of literary product (laypeople, blogs, student critiques)
    • Independent scholarship and non-traditional academic pathways
  • Divergence from reality/realism
    • Nonlinearity, stream of consciousness, free indirect discourse, anachronisms
    • Fantasy and new worlds: Alternative mapping, non-normative time, boundless movement. 
  • Divergence from established narratives 
    • Archival studies 
    • Historical narratives


Academic presentations will be 15 to 20 minutes long. Abstracts between 200-300 words can be submitted via the Google Form linked below. If 3 presenters would like to collaborate and propose a panel, please use section 4 of the form in order to do so. Please specify in your application whether you expect to participate in person or online. 


We ask that create submissions span no more than 6000 words total or 15 minutes. Applicants must upload a complete copy of their submission in .pdf format, including a title, to the Google Form. Accepted entrants will participate in a creative writing session to read their works, or excerpts from their works, and participate in a discussion with other authors and conference participants.


The Queen’s Graduate Conference in Literature will be a hybrid conference held on May 24th and 25th, 2024. All applicants will be asked to submit a brief biography including their institutional affiliation, of no more than 100 words. To apply, please complete the Google Form at the following address:




Abstracts and creative submissions will be accepted until February 16th, 2024. If you have any questions about the conference, please email queensgraduateconference@gmail.com.