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CFP: Indigenous Expressions of Culture in Storytelling, Drama, Theatre and Performance

A Conference Organized by the University of Silesia, Poland and

the University of the Fraser Valley, Canada

April 26-28, 2017, University of Silesia, Sosnowiec campus

Second Call for Proposals

Indigenous Expressions of Culture in Storytelling, Drama, Theatre and Performance –Traditional and Contemporary Canadian and Polish Upper Silesian Perspectives.


Confirmed Speaker: Tomson Highway (Cree)

“Storytelling is at the core of decolonizing, because it is a process of remembering, visioning and creating a just reality […] [it] becomes a lens through which we can envision our way out of cognitive imperialism” (Simpson 89)


The first of the intended series of conferences dedicated to the exploration of the complexity of Indigenous cultures of North America and minor cultures of Eastern/Central Europe - is a joint project of the Department of English and Indigenous Affairs Office, University of the Fraser Valley (UFV), Canada, and the Canadian Studies Centre, Department of American and Canadian Studies, Theatrum Research Group and the Centre for the Study of Minor Cultures at the University of Silesia (US), Poland. As Canadian and Polish scholars and educators working in the fields of Indigenous, minor, and transcultural literary and cultural studies, we propose that the first conference will explore the traditional and contemporary expressions of culture in Indigenous America, specifically Canada, and in the Eastern/Central European territory of Upper Silesia, specifically Poland, with a primary focus on the acts of resistance, survival and celebration of culture as enacted in storytelling, drama, theatre and performance (DTP). Performance is interpreted broadly including traditional and contemporary music and dance as well as festival events understood as modes of cultural storytelling. We envision the event as a meeting of Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars representing a variety of disciplines and Indigenous Canadian and Upper Silesian storytellers, writers, artists, performers, educators and community members.


Our aim is to explore the richness of Indigenous expressions of culture in storytelling and DPT in Canada and Upper Silesia. We believe that the transcultural dialogue between scholars, artists and educators of marginalized cultures will be an enriching learning experience for all, but especially for Upper Silesians, colonized by diverse powers throughout history, whose most recent struggle for recognition, including the processes of cultural and linguistic revitalization, can benefit from such transcultural encounters.


The exploration of Canadian scholarship on Indigenous literatures and cultures, and especially the work of Indigenous playwrights, artists, performers, scholars/critics and educators is of great interest to the critics of minor/ Indigenous literatures and cultures in Europe. We believe that in spite of many differences between Indigenous cultures of America and minor cultures of Eastern/Central Europe, critical insights and analytical tools offered by Indigenous research methodologies, epistemologies and pedagogical theories can provide instructive, alternative ways of approaching the under-studied and under-theorized works of European minor/Indigenous writers, performers and artists. A panel discussion by specialists in this area will explore diverse perspectives on these complex issues.


Prospective participants are invited to submit proposals for traditional and non-traditional presentations that broadly address the theme of the conference. Submissions from graduate and postgraduate students at any stage of their research are welcome. The following list of topics should be regarded as neither exhaustive nor prescriptive:


  • Re-reading and re-writing of history in DTP
  • Poetics, aesthetics and politics of identity construction in DTP
  • Storytelling, drama, theatre and performance as tools of decolonization and pedagogy
  • Storytelling as a repository and archive of Indigenous knowledge
  • Interrogating the concept of indigeneity: theorizing indigenous and minor cultures perspectives
  • Indigeneity of Upper Silesia
  • Transindigeneity and a dialogue of cultures
  • Indigenous ontology, epistemology, axiology, and methodology and their translation into storytelling and DTP
  • Use of oral traditions, stories, culture and history to promote activism
  • Inventing home through stories and performance: a decolonizing approach to DTP
  • Performing history and re-visioning of community memories DTP
  • The role of the storytelling and DTP in the cultural revival of Canadian Indigenous cultures
  • The role of the storytelling and DTP in the cultural revival of Upper Silesian culture and language
  • (De)Construction of cultural identity in storytelling and DTP
  • Traditional knowledge and values in storytelling and DTP
  • Indigenous/ local knowledge and traditional and contemporary expressions of culture
  • Performance of identity and language recovery and revitalization
  • Language recovery and revitalization and identity construction
  • Methodological practices of Native Performance Culture (NPC) as a possible model for the Upper Silesian expressions of culture
  • Diversity of the traditional Indigenous forms of cultural expression in the contemporary Canadian Indigenous and Upper Silesian DTP
  • Theories of affect and the enactment of Indigenous cultures in storytelling and DTP
  • Traditional knowledge versus folklore and its performance
  • Folklore and theatre
  • The role of folklore in preserving Indigenous and minor cultures
  • The condition of ritual in theatre – Canadian Indigenous and Slavic perspectives
  • Contemporary storytelling methods in DTP
  • The poetics of place and aesthetic values
  • Poetic auto-creation and mythologizing of Indigenous cultures and landscapes
  • Indigenous values and cosmologies and their translation into DTP
  • Heritage tourism and storytelling
  • Cultural festivals and their role in preserving and inventing cultures


With a comparative project in mind, we are initiating new avenues of research related to the marginalized local/ indigenous/minor cultures of Eastern/Central Europe studied in the context of Indigenous cultures of North America. We hope this pioneering venture in will lead to a greater understanding of the Indigenous and minor cultures functioning within major dominant national narratives of Canada and Poland.



University of Silesia:                                        University of the Fraser Valley                                      

Eugenia Sojka

Aneta Głowacka                                          Michelle LaFlamme

Sabina Sweta Sen                                            Shirley Swelchalot Shxwha:yathel Hardman

Rafał Madeja


Deadline for abstracts: December 31st 2016 ;

Notification of acceptance: January 6th 2017


Please send proposals to: [email protected]


Proposal submission address:

(i) Individual proposals should be 250-300 words.

(ii) For panels, in English, or Polish, please send the title of the panel and a 250-word presentation explaining the overall focus together with a 250-300 word abstract for each participant.

(iii) Please attach a short bio to your conference paper proposal.

All files should be clearly marked with the applicants’ name. Please make sure the files are in the PDF format.



Registration fee: covering welcome reception, all conference materials, coffee breaks, and conference banquet.


  • $ 250 US – full time faculty
  • $125 US -   students and part-time faculty


Publication: selected papers based on the conference presentations will be published in a refereed monograph.


The conference website will be opened shortly.




Writing Crisis

Die Krise schreiben/Writing Crisis/Écrire la crise

Edited by Ursula Mathis-Moser (Canadian Studies Centre, University of Innsbruck)

Introduction by Marie Carrière (Canadian Literature Centre/Centre de littérature canadienne, University of Alberta)

Nicole Brossard, Louise Dupré, Aritha Van Herk, and Lee Maracle, four grandiose women and writers, reflect on our contemporary crisis and help us navigate ‘beyond’.

Nicole Brossard, Louise Dupré, Aritha Van Herk et Lee Maracle, quatre grandes femmes et admirables écrivaines, réfléchissent sur la crise contemporaine et nous éclairent le chemin de ‘l’au-delà’.

Conversations from the Crisis and Beyond: The Literatures of Canada and Quebec / Écriture de la crise : dans la torment et au-delà Les littératures au Canada et au Québec conference held at the University of Innsbruck in the fall of 2015.


2016 CLC Scholarly Lecture

CLC Scholarly Lecture by Dr. Evelyne Gagnon

“Melancholia in Canadian and Québécois Literatures, or How to Survive Our Tumultuous Times”

Wednesday, November 30, 4:00 PM, with reception to follow
Salter Reading Room, HC 3-95

Please join us for our 2016 CLC Scholarly Lecture on November 30, 2021 at 4:00 PM. 2014-16 CLC Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Evelyne Gagnon will be delivering her lecture titled “Melancholia in Canadian and Québécois Literatures, or How to Survive Our Tumultuous Times.” All are welcome!

Brown Bag Lunch Reading: Larissa Lai

Join us on Monday, December 5, 2021 at 12:00 PM (Noon) for a Brown Bag Lunch Reading with Larissa Lai. Taking place in the Student Lounge of the Old Arts Building at the University of Alberta. All are welcome!


CLC Poetry Contest

Calling all University of Alberta students! The Canadian Literature Centre is looking for the best poetry in French and English that the U of A has to offer. Please read the posters below for information on how to submit your work.



2017 CLC Research Seminar

CLC Research Seminar 2017 

Figures of Care and of the Ordinary in Contemporary Canadian Literatures


Monday, February 27th 2017

Canadian Literature Centre

University of Alberta

Edmonton, AB


Organized by Dominique Hétu, Postdoctoral Fellow (SSHRC, CLC)

This research seminar sets out to explore how Canadian literatures revisit and reimagine the concepts of “care” and of the “ordinary” beyond the default position that tends to reduce them to the residual, routine, and repetition (Das). We wish to better understand how contemporary literary texts address the dilemmas, rituals, tensions, expectations, and responsibilities that stir and mark vulnerable ordinary life, how they imagine this idea of an “everyday” where the conditions for a good and habitable life “that is worth living” operate (Stiegler, translation mine). The large theme of this seminar is thus rooted in the porous frontiers between care (Laugier, Held, Tronto) and ordinary ethics (Lovell, Das, Cavell). The latter interrogates and complicates certain dimensions of care in its investigation of the expression “tending to” – “which contains both the idea of ‘taking care of’ and of ‘paying attention to,’ but also means ‘going in a direction’ as well as ‘taking particular action’” (Lovell, Pandolfo, Das, Laugier 7). 

With what kind of knowledge and new perspectives does the literary text address this particular form of attention and sensibility? How does literature show the imbrication of care ethics, understood as a set of modalities “through which life is rendered a little more liveable” (Lovell, Pandolfo, Das, Laugier 31), in an ordinary ethics that directs our “attention to unseen ordinary phenomena, but right before our eyes?” (163)?

We invite fellow writers and scholars (emerging and established) to submit proposals in which they examine and challenge care and theordinary from a variety of perspectives related but not limited to the following questions:

  • How do literary texts imagine everyday caring situations, habits and rituals that, once rendered visible by narrative or textual strategies, show this “ordinary fragility” (Lovell, Pandolfo, Das, Laugier 25)? Is it even possible to grasp or take hold of the ordinary, often configured as scattered, intangible weaving, always giving way?
  • How do writers fictionalize daily experiences – at times trivialized and naturalized – not only of oppression, exclusion, and precariousness, but also of rehabilitation, resistance, creativity, and second chances (Das) that may occur simultaneously?
  • More largely, how does literature allow answering and reacting to pain, trauma, and vulnerability in the fabric of everyday life? In what ways can the work of literature participate in a healing process and in the inception of dialogues between contrasting experiences that are nevertheless interrelated by history, territory, memory, language, filiation, etc.?
  • Does literary activity (writing, reading, criticism), from different points of view (migrant, transnational, Indigenous, feminist, Francophone, etc.), allow breaking with a certain tradition of indifference and carelessness towards the vulnerability of minoritized and marginalized subjects? In these singular contexts, what does literature show about the ordinary and, consequently, in what ways does it illuminate everyday life?
  • What does a transcultural approach of the ordinary and its fragility render in terms of ethical and political development? Do writers and scholars actively contribute to this complex interplay between ethics and politics that never ceases to remind us of our intersubjective relationship to the other, whatever  it  may be?
  • And in what ways do writers relate ordinary lives that are shaped by the virtual, the digital and the medical, that are inhabited by new vulnerable bodies, and in which human and nonhuman interact? How do these perspectives impact, if not trouble, our relationship to the ordinary, to difference, to the uncanny in everyday life?

Stemming from care ethics, ordinary ethics, critical posthumanism, and literary studies, the threads with which we will weave our conversations between scholars and creators will allow us to define and decode, in Canadian literatures, what threatens and maintains a liveable and habitable life.

Presentations in the form of regular conference papers, readings of creative writing accompanied by a critical discussion of the work, and one-on-one interviews will be considered favourably. Presentations are restricted to 20 minutes to enable sufficient time for questions and discussion.

Please submit a detailed 300-word proposal, including an abstract, a title and a short bio, to Dominique Hétu ([email protected]) before Monday, January 9th 2017.






Séminaire de recherche du CLC 2017

Figures du care et de l’ordinaire dans les littératures canadiennes contemporaines


Le lundi 27 février 2017

Centre de littérature canadienne

Université de l’Alberta

Edmonton, AB


Organisé par Dominique Hétu, Boursière postdoctorale (CRSH, CLC)

Ce séminaire souhaite explorer comment les littératures canadiennes revisitent et imaginent les concepts de « care » et d’« ordinaire », au-delà de la position par défaut qui tend à réduire ces termes au routinier, au répétitif et au résiduel (Das). Nous visons ainsi à mieux comprendre comment, dans les textes littéraires contemporains, sont racontés les dilemmes, les rituels, les tensions, les attentes et les responsabilités qui animent et qui marquent la vie ordinaire vulnérable, cette idée d’un « tous les jours » où se déploient ce qui à la fois menace et maintien les conditions d’une vie bonne, d’une vie habitable : une vie « qui vaut la peine d’être vécue » (Stiegler). Le large thème de ce séminaire trouve donc ancrage dans la porosité des frontières entre les éthiques du care (Laugier, Held, Tronto) et les éthiques de l’ordinaire (Lovell, Das, Cavell), qui interrogent et complexifient certaines dimensions du care dans la mesure où elles investiguent l’expression  « aller vers », de l’anglais tending to, « qui contient à la fois l’idée de ‘prendre soin de’ et de ‘prêter son attention à’, mais signifie aussi ‘aller dans une direction’ ou encore ‘entreprendre une action particulière’ » (Lovell, Pandolfo, Das, Laugier 7).

Quels savoirs, quels regards nous offre le texte littéraire sur cette forme d’attention et sur ce sensible ? Comment, par la littérature, le care, compris comme un ensemble de modalités « par lesquelles la vie est rendue un peu plus vivable », s’enchevêtre ainsi avec une éthique de l’ordinaire qui dirige notre « attention sur des phénomènes ordinairement non vus, mais juste devant nos yeux » (163) ?

Nous invitons les propositions de communication à s’inspirer des considérations suivantes, sans toutefois y être limitées :

  • Comment les esracontent-ils et racontent-elles les expériences quotidiennes, parfois banalisées et naturalisées, non seulement d’oppression, d’exclusion et de précarité, mais aussi, et parfois en même temps, celles de réhabilitation, de résistance, de créativité et de deuxième chance (Das) ?
  • Comment les textes littéraires imaginent-ils les situations quotidiennes de care, les habitudes et les rituels de tous les jours qui, lorsque rendues visibles par des stratégies narratives et textuelles, montrent cette « fragilité de l’ordinaire » (Lovell, Pandolfo, Das, Laugier 25) ? Peut-on même se saisir de l’ordinaire, souvent pensé comme un tissage diffus et intangible, qui constamment se dérobe ?
  • Plus largement, comment la littérature permet-elle de répondre, de réagir à la souffrance, au trauma, à la vulnérabilité dans le tissu quotidien ? En quoi le travail de la littérature peut-il participer à un certain processus de guérison et à la mise en dialogue d’expériences différentes mais interreliées par l’histoire, le territoire, la mémoire, la filiation, etc. ?
  • Est-ce que le geste littéraire (écriture, lecture, critique), et ce de différents points de vue (migrants, autochtones, féministes, francophones, transnationale, etc.), permet de rompre avec une certaine tradition d’indifférence et d’insouciance devant la vulnérabilité des sujets minorisés et marginalisés ? Dans ces contextes singuliers, que nous montre la littérature à propos de l’ordinaire et, conséquemment, de quelles manières inédites souligne-t-elle la vie de tous les jours ?
  • Qu’est-ce qu’une approche transculturelle de l’ordinaire et de sa fragilité peut entraîner comme développements éthiques et politiques ? Les eset chercheur.es contribuent-ils activement à ces jeux complexes entre éthique et politique qui nous ramènent sans cesse à notre rapport à l’autre, quel qu’il soit ?
  • Et de quelles manières sont racontées les vies ordinaires façonnées par le virtuel, le numérique et par le médical, habitées par de nouvelles corporéités vulnérables, et où l’humain et le non-humain interagissent ? Comment ces perspectives ont-elles un impact sur, ou troublent-elles notre rapport à l’ordinaire et à la différence, à l’étrangeté au quotidien ?

Issus de la pensée du care, des éthiques de l’ordinaire, de la pensée critique posthumaniste, et des études littéraires, les fils grâce auxquels, nous l’espérons, se tisseront cette conversation entre chercheur.ses et créateur.trices nous permettront de circonscrire ce qui, dans les littératures canadiennes, menace et maintient une vie vivable et habitable.

D’une durée maximale de 20 minutes, des présentations sous forme de communication régulière, de lecture de création littéraire accompagnée d’une discussion critique, ainsi que sous forme d’entrevue (de type tête-à-tête) seront reçues favorablement. Peu importe le format, les propositions devront contenir un résumé détaillé de la présentation, un titre provisoire, ainsi qu’une brève notice biographique, le tout pour un maximum de 300 mots. Veuillez soumettre vos propositions à Dominique Hétu ([email protected]), avant le lundi 9 janvier 2017.


Learn more about your favorite CLC authors with this digital archive of videos, photos, bibliographies , interviews, and more!



Conference: Constituting Canada


Constituting Canada: Interdisciplinary approaches to an idea

A conference hosted by the Association for Canadian Studies in Australia and New Zealand (ACSANZ)


Venue:                        University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW, Australia

Date:                           Thursday 13th July – Friday 14th July, 2017

Keynote Speaker:      Associate Professor Eric Adams, Faculty of Law, University of Alberta


2017 marks 150 years since the inception of the Canadian state with the British North America Act, 1867, and 35 years since 1982’s constitutional patriation, including the enactment of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. While legal acts serve as focal points for the creation (and re-creation) of the Canadian state, the connotations of Canada’s constitutive documents operate across law, politics, history, geography, society, and culture, with consequences for the past, present, and future. To engage with the manifold cultural-legal meanings that constitutions and their anniversaries evoke and contest, the Association for Canadian Studies in Australia and New Zealand (ACSANZ) invites abstracts for papers that address the idea of constitutions and Canada.

The conference will ask how nations, states, and peoples in Canada have been constituted, and investigate the significance of constitutive moments in the Canadian context. Participants are invited to reflect on questions that include, but are not limited by:

  • How do constitutive documents represent, legitimate, or deny Indigenous, multicultural, gendered, and federal histories and claims?
  • How has Canada’s constitutional model and history shaped Canada, and how have these changes resonated internationally?
  • How do the arts constitute Canada and its communities? How are constitutive texts and histories reflected upon in the arts, and how are the arts shaping Canada’s legal consciousness?
  • How has the Canadian Constitution addressed its imposition upon pre-contact societies with their own legal and political orders?
  • What does the presence (or absence) of rights language in foundational documents like constitutions mean for their legal and affective power?
  • How do we remember and represent the creation of states and nations, and what does it mean to celebrate such a contested moment in time?
  • What attributes of Canada’s Constitution and its experience that have special resonance for Australia and New Zealand?
  • What possibilities does constitutional change offer for imagining and re-imagining Canada?

Contributions from across disciplines that deal with all aspects of Canada and Canadian Studies, including from a comparative perspective, are welcomed.

Please email an abstract and brief bio to Dr Robyn Morris ([email protected]) and Dr Benjamin Authers ([email protected]) before Dec 1st, 2016. To assist with planning, earlier abstracts are welcomed and will be evaluated when they are submitted.

Ten Canadian Writers in Context


Ten Canadian Writers in Context

Marie Carrière, Curtis Gillespie, Jason Purcell, Lynn Coady, Ying Chen, Michael Crummey, Jennifer Delisle, Kit Dobson, Caterina Edwards, Marina Endicott, Lawrence Hill, Daniel Laforest, Alice Major, Don Perkins, Julie Rodgers, Joseph Pivato, Eden Robinson,Gregory Scofield, Winfried Siemerling, Pamela Sing, Maïté Snauwaert, Kim Thúy and Angela Van Essen.

Ten years, ten authors, ten critics.

The Canadian Literature Centre/Centre de littérature canadienne reaches into its ten-year archive of Brown Bag Lunch readings to sample some of the most diverse and powerful voices in contemporary Canadian literature.

This anthology offers readers samples from some of Canada’s most exciting writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Each selection is introduced by a brief essay, serving as a point of entry into the writer’s work. From the east coast of Newfoundland to Kitamaat territory on British Columbia’s central coast, there is a story for everyone, from everywhere. True to Canada’s multilingual and multicultural heritage, these ten writers come from diverse ethnicities and backgrounds, and work in multiple languages, including English, French, and Cree.

Ying Chen | essay by Julie Rodgers
Lynn Coady | essay by Maïté Snauwaert
Michael Crummey | essay by Jennifer Bowering Delisle
Caterina Edwards | essay by Joseph Pivato
Marina Endicott | essay by Daniel Laforest
Lawrence Hill | essay by Winfried Siemerling
Alice Major | essay by Don Perkins
Eden Robinson | essay by Kit Dobson
Gregory Scofield | essay by Angela Van Essen
Kim Thúy | essay by Pamela V. Sing

2016 CLC Kreisel Lecturer Margaret Atwood on CBC Radio One Ideas

CBC Atwood

… we young writers of Canada?”  That’s a question Margaret Atwood asked during a Canadian Literature Centre talk in Edmonton.  In excerpts from the talk and in conversation with Paul Kennedy, she considers the accidental but sometimes intentional creation of a culture and a tradition.  Some things were unimaginable decades ago, like the diversity and strength of Canadian literature today…or the PowerPoint she uses to help tell the tale.

Friday September 16, 2021
CBC Radio One at 9:05 pm, 9:35 in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Hear it online: cbc.ca/ideas