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Cover of issue #223

Current Issue: #223 Agency & Affect (Winter 2014)

Canadian Literature's Issue 223 (Winter 2014), Agency & Affect, is now available. The issue features articles by Ranbir K. Banwait, Paul Huebener, Lisa Marchi, Veronica Austen, and Andrea Beverley, as well as an interview with Laurence Hill by Kerry Lappin-Fortin, along with new Canadian poetry and book reviews.


New Issue: Agency & Affect #223 (Winter 2014)

August 28, 2015

Cover of CanLit #223

Canadian Literature’s Issue 223 (Winter 2014), Agency & Affect, is now available for order. Editor Margery Fee opens the issue with reflections on her teaching experiences and the necessity of studying literary pedagogy:

. . . It is . . . troubling that we don’t explain our primary critical strategies to our students. In Literary Learning: Teaching the English Major, Linkon argues that we are good at demonstrating our ability to work through interpretations in lectures and to guide class discussions about texts. Where we fall down, in her view, is explaining to students as we go through this process just how we arrived at our interpretation, which is usually presented to them as a finished, polished performance. This typical pedagogy fails to convey our method, what she calls strategic knowledge and what Laura Wilder calls “rhetorical process knowledge,” vital information if students are going to be able to succeed at tackling the interpretation of unfamiliar texts by themselves.   —Margery Fee, “Spies in the House of Literary Criticism

Agency & Affect also features articles by Ranbir K. Banwait, Paul Huebener, Lisa Marchi, Veronica Austen, Andrea Beverley, and Kerry Lappin-Fortin, as well as new Canadian poetry and book reviews.

The new issue can be ordered through our online store. Happy readings!

New Editor of Canadian Literature, Laura Moss

August 20, 2015

Laura Moss

We are proud to welcome Laura Moss as the new editor of Canadian Literature.

Dr. Moss is an associate professor of Canadian and postcolonial literatures at the University of British Columbia. She has had a long history of involvement with Canadian Literature and its related projects. Since 2004, she has worked as an associate editor at the journal and, since 2012, she has played a pivotal role as one of the contributing editors for the online teaching resource CanLit Guides. She also served as acting editor in 2009 and 2013-2014, overseeing a number of special and regular issues while contributing editorials and book reviews along the way.

Moss succeeds Margery Fee, who has served as editor of Canadian Literature for eight wonderful years. Fee welcomes our new editor:

I’m thrilled that Laura Moss has agreed to take on the editorship of Canadian Literature.  The journal will benefit from her integrity, work ethic, creativity, and international network of fellow scholars in the field. In 2009, she and Cynthia Sugars co-edited the two-volume teaching anthology, Canadian Literature in English: Texts and Contexts. It set the standard for annotations and the inclusion of contextual material. Her edited collection, Is Canada Postcolonial? Unsettling Canadian Literature, foregrounded new questions about and new approaches to Canadian literature. Her postcolonial teaching and research will continue the high standards maintained by Canadian Literature as it moves into the era of transnational literary studies.

Moss’s other publications include a scholarly edition of The History of Emily Montague and Leaving the Shade of the Middle Ground: The Poetry of F. R. Scott, as well as articles on subjects such as literary pedagogy, magic realism, Canadian broadcasting, narrative medicine, and public memorials in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. She is currently working on a monograph entitled July 2nd: Tracking Public Policy, Contesting Cultural Nationalism, and Defending the Arts, which studies the intersections of public policy and the history of arts culture in Canada.

In addition to her research and work with the journal, Moss has had an active presence in numerous university communities. She served as chair of the UBC Canadian Studies Program (2008-2011), director of the International Canadian Studies Centre (2008-2011), and leader of the UBC GRSJ-CWILA Research Network (2013-2014). She was also on the CWILA board of directors from 2012-2014. In 2013, she was awarded a Killam Teaching Prize.

Moss says:

I am honoured to be following in the footsteps of Margery Fee, Laurie Ricou, Eva-Marie Kröller, W. H. New, and George Woodcock. Canadian Literature has a long history of excellence and innovation in criticism. My goal is to have it also be the go-to place for discussions of issues that are vital to the study of literature and the humanities in Canada. Particularly in the age of neoliberalism, I think that the journal should have a loud voice on the arts and culture in this country. Whether we are publishing articles on issues of social justice or formal experimentation, I want to see the journal truly reflect the dynamic state of contemporary criticism in the field.

Moss brings a wealth of experience and a clear vision to Canadian Literature. We look forward to the new directions the journal will be taking under her guidance, and congratulate her once more on the appointment. Welcome to our new editor, Laura Moss!


Some of Laura Moss’ previous contributions to the journal include:

Honourable Mention for the Don D. Walker Prize

August 19, 2015

We are pleased to congratulate Lorraine York and Michael Ross on receiving an honourable mention from the 2014 Don D. Walker Prize for their article “Imperial Commerce and the Canadian Muse: The Hudson’s Bay Company’s Poetic Advertising Campaign of 1966-1972.” This work was published in Tracking CanLit, a special issue of Canadian Literature #220. The Don D. Walker Prize recognizes the best essay in western American literary studies, broadly defined as any region in North America that has been historically or critically considered “West,” as well as comparative studies of the American West across regional or national boundaries.

Praise from the jury for the article includes:

“The committee was impressed by the reach and depth of your work in taking on the intersection of poetry and commerce in a particular, pivotal, and thoroughly grounded moment.”

“This article took a fresh look in its examination of the implications of poetry's commercial application. It was well argued, well researched, and not afraid to present multiple perspectives, while maintaining a focused approach.”

“The authors establish a clear critical framework and historical context for the analysis, and I appreciate their challenge to conventional critical wisdom on poetry in a commercial context. They address gender and race while never losing sight of the poetry.”

“I love their approach as well as the content, the essay's willingness to contain multitudes.”

The awards will be given out at the Western Literature Association Annual Banquet, which will be hosted in Reno, Nevada, this year. For more information, visit their website.

To read the article, order an issue today. Once again, congratulations to Lorraine York and Michael Ross for their excellent work.

Margery Fee as McLean Chair in Canadian Studies 2015-2017

June 17, 2015

We are proud to congratulate our editor, Margery Fee, on becoming the 2015-2017 Brenda and David McLean Chair in Canadian Studies.

Fee is the second Canadian Literature editor to be appointed this distinguished position after W. H. New. As Chair, she will be teaching the Senior Seminar and giving the McLean Lectures in Canadian Studies, which will be compiled and published by UBC Press.

From the press release:

In the McLean Lectures, Professor Fee will outline the history of Indigenous texts in the Canadian northwest and model ways to read them. Since the 1990s, literary works by Indigenous writers have been brought into the curriculum. However, oral and written works from earlier periods are rarely included. Instructors are concerned about how to teach these works while respecting their difference. To teach oral stories requires knowledge of national cultural protocols, languages, histories, and worldviews. Prominent early Indigenous written genres—such as life stories, political commentary, and ethnography—require ways of reading that differ from those typically used to analyze the preferred European genres of poetry, fiction, and drama.

Margery Fee’s research in Canadian literary criticism and bibliography, Indigenous literatures and cultures, and Canadian English has provided valuable insights and unique perspectives to the study of literature and nationalism. Her work has been recognized by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Canada Council, and many other awards and distinctions over the course of her career. On top of being a distinguished Canadianist, Fee is also an active UBC faculty member, having served as Associate Dean of Students (1999-2004), Director of Arts One (2005-2008), and Director of Canadian Studies (2005-2008). Since becoming the editor of Canadian Literature eight years ago, Fee has used her expertise to direct over twenty-two issues and counting, including the following special issues:

Once again, congratulations to our wonderful editor and we look forward to her work as the McLean Chair in Canadian Studies.

2014 Canadian Literature Best Essay Prize Winner

June 4, 2015

We are pleased to congratulate the winner of the 2014 Canadian Literature Best Essay Prize, Sam McKegney, for his article "'pain, pleasure, shame. Shame': Masculine Embodiment, Kinship, and Indigenous Reterritorialization” in Canadian Literature #216.

Jury Citation: In focusing "on the coerced alienation of Indigenous men from their own bodies by colonial technologies such as residential schooling," Sam McKegney makes an eloquent case for seeing how this work "served and serves the goal of colonial dispossession." Indeed, he suggests these "coercive alienations lay at the very core of the Canadian nation-building project." McKegney raises vital questions about reintegration and deterritorialization as well as about the ways in which settler scholarship may engage with and honour the testimony of residential school survivors.

Honourable mention goes to David Williams, for his article "Spectres of Time: Seeing Ghosts in Will Bird's Memoirs and Abel Gance's J'accuse" in Canadian Literature #219.

Jury Citation: David Williams' "Spectres of Time" is about ghosts in machines. Comparing Will Bird's First World War memoir, How We Go On (1930), with Abel Gance's silent film, J'Accuse (1919), it traces a series of psychological and artistic inversions:
  • the invasion of modern military technology by the technology of film;
  • the invasion of trench warfare by uncanny apparitions, as reported by soldiers;
  • the invasion of these spirits through the artifice of silent cinema into a hallucinatory temporality evoking a new intensity of mourning.
This is a sophisticated and interdisciplinary study: clearly written, clearly argued, provocative, and always engaging.

Our thanks to ACQL for allowing us to make the announcement at their reception, to the judges—Cecily Devereux, Jon Kertzer, Patricia Merivale, Linda Morra, Laura Moss, and Deena Rymhs—who thoughtfully assessed the essay nominations, and especially to Linda Morra for chairing the panel.

Once again, congratulations to Sam McKegney and David Williams for their remarkable work, and we hope to see everyone again next year.

Call for Statements of Interest: CanLit Guides Workshop

May 29, 2015

What does it mean to teach “Canadian literature” responsibly in higher education today? Over fifty years into the field’s institutionalization and hundreds of years into its creation, nobody knows everything about Canadian writing and criticism. Yet we are still often asked to be both specialists in research and generalists in teaching the literatures of Canada.

As literature teachers, we all have different ways of reconciling this uncertainty. At Canadian Literature, we want to propose an additional strategy: crowdsourcing. This workshop seeks to draw upon our collective expertise to produce teaching materials for our students and one another. CanLit Guides is an online, open educational resource created to supplement classroom learning. In our initial years of development, the guides were written in-house and then peer-reviewed out of house. We are shifting to a new model of chapters written by and credited to area specialists. This workshop is designed to support this new model, calling upon those who teach Canadian literature to write on texts, time periods, research methods, writers, etc. of their choice.

  CanLit Guides Workshop

This workshop will involve participants each bringing a draft chapter on their proposed topic, with background context, teaching approaches, connections to the journal Canadian Literature, discussion questions, and at least one sample assignment. Together, we will workshop these chapters to produce revised versions that will then be refined by the authors and submitted to CanLit Guides to be expedited through our blind peer-review process.

We want to work across generations and skill sets to benefit from our varied experiences in the classroom, so that we can produce materials of value to students and our fellow educators. We intend for the workshop to include people from all levels of academic teaching (from graduate students to senior faculty) and for us to work together beyond hierarchies. Our goal is to bolster the community of Canadian literature specialists who welcome the opportunity to talk about teaching, share what we know, learn from one another, and consider ways to best support our students’ learning.

  Statement of Interest

If you would like to participate in this workshop, please send us a statement of interest, which would include:

  • A 100-word general synopsis of your chapter topic and
  • A 50-word biographical note.

The workshop will take place in Spring 2016, right before Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. More information will be released closer to the date. Since the number of participants will be limited, please indicate your interest as soon as possible. For more information, please see our Call for Statements of Interest flyer. If you have any questions or concerns about the workshop or the draft chapters, contact us using the email below.


Workshop Organizers: Kathryn Grafton and Laura Moss Deadline for Statement of Interest: July 15, 2015 Send to: canlit.guides@ubc.ca

ACQL 2014 Shortlist

May 7, 2015

We are excited to announce that ACQL has just released the finalists for the 2014 Gabrielle Roy Prize (English). This year’s shortlist includes former poetry editor Larissa Lai and other frequent Canadian Literature contributors:

  • Drouin, Jennifer. Shakespeare in Quebec: Nation, Gender, Adaptation. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2014. Print.
  • Lai, Larissa. Slanting I, Imagining We: Asian Canadian Literary Production in the 1980s and 1990s. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2014. Print.
  • McLeod, Neal, ed. Indigenous Poetics in Canada. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2014. Print.
  • Morra, Linda M. Unarrested Archives: Case Studies in Twentieth-Century Canadian Women’s Authorship. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2014. Print.

Starting from our very first issue, Canadian Literature has published numerous articles on and reviews of the eminent author and her works, including a special issue. In her honour, the Gabrielle Roy Prize recognizes the best work of Canadian literary criticism in English and French every year. In 1988, Canadian Literature became the first and only journal to win the Gabrielle Roy Prize for best English book-length studies in Canadian and Québec literary criticism.

The shortlist was chosen by a jury composed of Paul Martin (MacEwan University), Erin Wunker (Dalhousie University), and Tanis MacDonald (Wilfrid Laurier University). Past winners include:

  • Martin, Paul. Sanctioned Ignorance: The Politics of Knowledge Production and the Teaching of Literatures in Canada. Edmonton: U of Alberta P, 2013. Print. (Reviewed here.)
  • Andrès, Bernard. Histoires littéraires des Canadiens au XVIIIe siècle. Quebec City: PUL, 2012. Print. (Reviewed here.)
  • Martin, Keavy. Stories in a New Skin: Approaches to Inuit Literature. Winnipeg: U of Manitoba P, 2012. Print. (Reviewed here.)
  • Cellard, Karine. Leçons de littérature: Un siècle de manuels scolaires au Québec.Montreal: PU Montreal, 2011. Print. (Reviewed here.)
  • Wyile, Herb. Anne of Tim Hortons: Globalization and the Reshaping of Atlantic-Canadian Literature.Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2011. Print. (Reviewed here.)
  • Leclerc, Catherine. Des langues en partage? : Cohabitation du français et de l’anglais en littérature contemporaine. Montreal: XYZ, 2010. Print. (Reviewed here.)
  • Gerson, Carole. Canadian Women in Print, 1750-1918. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2010. Print. (Reviewed here.)

The winner will be announced on May 30th, 2015, at the Gabrielle Roy Prize reception at the Association for Canadian and Quebec Literatures annual conference, which takes place in Ottawa, Ontario, this year. Since spaces at the banquet are now sold out, please contact Sara Jamieson if you would like to be placed on a waiting list (sara_jamieson@carleton.ca).   

Date: May 30, 2015
When: 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Where: Vittoria Trattoria
35 William Street, Byward Market Area
Ottawa, ON

New Issue: Recursive Time #222 (Autumn 2014)

May 6, 2015

Canadian Literature’s Issue 222 (Autumn 2014), Recursive Time, is now available for order. Editor Margery Fee brings together several unexpected elements to make an important point about oral stories and literary studies in her introduction to the issue:

Beowulf and Old English were wheeled into English literary studies in the 1920s around the same time as English literature was formed as a separate university discipline. National literatures were supposed to be grounded in an indigenous oral culture—so the obscure British Beowulf became preferable to the famous Greek Homer. Similarly, many major anthologies of Canadian literature begin with some Indigenous oral poems in translation, although they too were unknown to most Canadian writers and so cannot really be said to ground the Canadian literary tradition. This retroactive claiming of a formerly ignored indigenous tradition was fairly harmless in English literary studies. In Canadian literary studies, it is part of a colonial history that takes over Indigenous culture without doing it justice as something more than the beginning of our literary history. We should not study oral stories here without keeping the history of colonial appropriation clearly in mind.

—Margery Fee, The Princess, the Bear, the Computer, and the King of England

Recursive Time also features articles by Hannah McGregor, Aleksandra Bida, Anne Quéma, Nicholas Milne, Jeffrey Aaron Weingarten, and Eric Schmaltz, as well as new Canadian poetry and book reviews.

The new issue can be ordered through our online store. Happy readings!

Teaching Academic Writing about Literature on the Web

May 6, 2015

Margery Fee (editor of Canadian Literature), Kathryn Grafton (associate editor of CanLit Guides), and Katja Thieme (professor of English at UBC) will deliver a paper, “Teaching Academic Writing about Literature on the Web,” in Edmonton this May. The paper discusses their plan to integrate writing instruction into CanLit Guides so that instructors and students can combine the study of Canadian literature with useful material on how to write in the discipline of literary criticism. The material will include samples of student and academic writing at various stages of revision.

This talk is part of a larger conference on technologies and how they have transformed literary and cultural studies. Digital Diversity 2015: Writing | Feminism | Culture celebrates the twentieth anniversary of The Orlando Project, an ongoing experiment in digital methods that produced Orlando: Women’s Writing in the British Isles, from the Beginnings to the Present. Orlando is an interactive website allows readers to create dynamic inquiries about British women writers from many perspectives.

The panel will take place on May 8, 2015 at Lister Conference Centre, University of Alberta. For more information, please visit the conference website and refer to Digital Diversity Program.

We hope to see you there!

Call for Papers: Asian Canadian Critique Beyond the Nation

April 21, 2015

Guest editors Chris Lee and Christine Kim are welcoming submissions for a special issue of Canadian Literature: Asian Canadian Critique Beyond the Nation.

Asian Canadian critique has conventionally unfolded within nationalist frameworks. From important historical events such as the Chinese Head Tax, Japanese Canadian Internment, and the Komagata Maru Incident, to ongoing struggles over multiculturalism and global migrations, Asian Canadian critique has tended to emphasize the role of the nation-state in the marginalization of racialized populations. This approach has been central to the anti-racist pedagogy of the field, and has been deeply nurtured by its close ties with cultural communities, activists, and social movements. Yet the nationalist framing of Asian Canadian critique has also reinscribed citizenship and national belonging as the basis of political desire, thereby drawing the field back into the assimilatory impulses of multiculturalism.

This special issue invites essays that reflect critically on existing frameworks in Asian Canadian critique and repositions the field in relation to trans-Pacific studies, world systems critique, comparative empires, inter-Asia cultural studies, global indigeneity, the global South, and other paradigms. We are especially interested in essays that question the coherence of Asian Canadian critique, not to mention Asian Canadian objects and topics, through comparative, multilingual, and transnational approaches that destabilize rather than reinforce national epistemologies.

Submissions should be uploaded to Canadian Literature’s online submissions system by the deadline of January 1, 2016. Questions about the special issue may be directed to can.lit@ubc.ca.

For more information, visit our Call for Papers page.

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