CACLALS CFP Out Now! (Proposals due January 15, 2020)

We are excited to release our CFP for CACLALS 2020, “Ecologies of Alliance in a divided Age.” We look forward as well to welcoming confirmed keynote speakers Anthony Stewart and George Elliott Clarke, and will have more events to announce in the coming weeks and months. Please circulate widely to your networks, and note that we especially welcome contributions from graduate students in addition to researchers at all levels. We are looking forward to seeing our members in London, Ontario this coming spring!

CFP on 20/20 Vision: Speculating in Literature and Film in Canada


20/20 Vision: Speculating in Literature and Film in Canada

August 20-22, 2020

University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada

Speculative fiction, film, and television series are fast-growing genres, in part because they comment on the present. These genres ask readers to consider environmental, technological, and political events and developments in the world today, and the immense impacts these may have on the world of the future. They are often used by their creators to represent, report, and speculate on key societal issues, such as relations of class, gender, and race, as well as issues of environmental destruction and political conflict. In Canada, speculative writing has become a tool to interrogate colonial enterprises and open up spaces for marginalized groups, including women, Indigenous peoples, members of LGBTQ2S+ communities, and others whose lives are inflected by cultural difference, to assert their identities and create avenues for resistance. A variety of speculative worlds have achieved popularity through films and television/internet series, some of which are literary adaptations. 20/20 Vision: Speculating in Literature and Film in Canada invites researchers and creators in the year 2020 to present their own speculations about the futures and/or societies that are presented in various texts produced in or relating to Canada. What do speculative texts tell us? Which visions of “Canada” do we find in speculative texts? How do these visions reflect our own perceptions of the world? Does this kind of literary imagination help us achieve social change?

Proposals for both papers and panels are invited. These can take a range of approaches related to speculative writing in Canada, including:

  • Dystopian worlds
  • Utopian and anti-utopian worlds
  • Apocalyptic scenarios
  • Post-apocalyptic futures
  • Feminist speculations
  • Indigenous speculations
  • Decolonizing speculations
  • Speculative writing for children
  • Speculative poetry
  • Climate change and/or technological developments in speculative writing
  • Animals in speculative writing
  • Speculations on language and power
  • Disability in speculative writing
  • Gender and sexuality in speculative writing
  • Speculation and interdisciplinarity
  • Speculations on the screen: movies, documentaries, television and internet series, video games
  • Speculative adaptations
  • Speculative creation, including the writing of speculative fiction*

*The conference will also host sessions in which creators of speculative genres will be invited to present their works. Authors and artists are invited to propose 20-minute creative pieces; these may involve readings from written works, visual instalments, performance pieces, or film presentations.

Paper proposals should include the following:

1. Your name, contact information (including email address and telephone number), and institutional affiliation.

2. The title of your proposed 20-minute paper or presentation, AND a proposal of 250-300 words, identifying the works that will be your focus of your paper and outlining the argument to be presented OR describing your creative piece and the method of presentation or performance.

3. A 50-word biographical statement.

Panel proposals should include the above information for all participants.

Please e-mail your proposal in a Word document to conference organizers Wendy Roy and Mabiana Camargo of the University of Saskatchewan at by February 10, 2020.

Conference acceptances will be emailed in April, 2020. For further information, please visit the website at send an email to

After the conference, there will be an open call for expanded papers to be published in a collection of essays on speculations in literature and on screen in Canada.

Tenure-Track Position in African/Black Diaspora Studies at UBC

The University of British Columbia’s Department of English Language and Literatures is currently inviting applications for a tenure-track position in African / Black Diaspora Studies with an anticipated start date of July 1, 2020. Applications are due October 31. More information about the position and the application process can be found at this link. Please circulate widely to our membership and beyond!

CFP for What We(a)re Anthologies in Canadian Poetry – Extended Deadline

Please take note of the following CFP:



Jim Johnstone’s introduction to The Next Wave: An Anthology of 21st Century Canadian Poetry (2018) begins by envisioning the Canadian poetry scene as a gala at which the Atwoods, Ondaatjes, and Carsons of the form “monopoliz[e] the spotlight,” in sharp contrast with “a younger, more anonymous crowd pushing at the margins, trying to bypass the guest list.” The image of a social event acknowledges the organic nature of a poetry “scene,” but the project of the anthologist seems to involve more layers of artifice than Johnstone’s trope acknowledges. His introduction ends by shifting the image to a dancefloor, the spotlight having “turned into a strobe light, touching on a generation currently unsettling the formula for writing ‘Canadian’ poetry.” The comparison is striking; nevertheless, questions remain about who’s been told about the party, who cares, who would consider it a party in the first place, and what dancing even consists of.


Frog Hollow Press seeks contributors for an essay collection that probes some of the issues surrounding contemporary practices of anthologizing Canadian poetry. Intended for publication as part of the Literary Criticism Series, the anthology revolves around the larger question of what contemporary or future Canadian Poetry Anthologies may be building, and for whom. To what extent are anthologies ultimately inseparable from the academy? If poetry isn’t being consumed according to market-based relations, i.e. by anyone other than enthusiasts or students or instructors, what work is an anthology doing? Can we imagine a poetry culture that’s open to new readers and yet is still receptive to the anthologist’s guidance? Relatedly, to what extent is the act of anthologizing influenced by the ascendance of the curator and the curatorial impulse? Conversely, in our neoliberal era, what will happen to poetry if the current university ecosystem is de-funded beyond recognition? In sum: what work is being done at present, and in what possible direction could future anthologists move?


While we wish to focus on Canadian poetry, contributors are also welcome to address larger contradictions in the genre or a range of related topics. Possibilities include:


-the anthology as objective vs. the anthology as personal statement

-university presses vs. small presses

-canonicity and its contradictions

-demographic vs. formal or stylistic representation

-the (ir)relevance of notions of national or regional literatures

-cosmopolitanism past, present, and future

-the influence of curation/the curator

-temporalities of anthologization, i.e. as retrospective, present-oriented, or prospective


Potential contributors are invited to send a proposal of 200-300 words, along with a biographical statement of 50-100 words, to by November 1st, 2019. Invitations to submit complete essays of 4000-7000 words will be sent out shortly thereafter, along with a deadline and revision/publication timeline. Submissions from BIPOC, LGBTQ2S+, and other underrepresented writers are especially welcome.

CFHSS Responds to the Incident of Racial Profiling on UBC Campus at Congress 2019

The Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences (FHSS) released a statement to the public on August 28 detailing their investigation into the incident of anti-black racial profiling that occurred on June 2, 2019 on the UBC campus. The independent investigation confirmed that a Congress attendee was discriminated against on the basis of race and has banned the scholar who committed the discrimination for a minimum of three years, with five conditions for his return. This comes on the heels of Congress recently changing the theme of the 2020 Congress, which is now Bridging Divides: Confronting Colonialism and Anti-Black Racism. The full statement and conditions can be read here.

The Black Canadian Studies Association (BCSA) released a statement on August 14 that can be found on their Twitter page (@BlkCdnSA), detailing, “We have now reached a beginning: an opportunity to expand and deepen efforts toward the ‘decolonization’ of higher education through becoming accountable to Black students, academics, and local communities.” CACLALS continues to stand in solidarity with Shelby McPhee and the BCSA against anti-black racism. We hope that our upcoming conference in 2020 will be an opportunity for thinking through ways of going forward with the BCSA’s direction in mind. CACLALS is currently drafting its CFP and expects to share more news in early September.

Welcome to the new members of our Executive!

We are thrilled to announce the new (and some re-newed!) members of our Executive: Asma Sayed (President), Jesse Arseneault (Secretary-Treasurer), Terri Tomsky (Prairies Representative), J. Coplen Rose (Atlantic Representative), and Sara Rozenberg (Graduate Representative). We also want to take a moment and thank our outgoing members for all their dedication and hard work: Mariam Pirbhai (President), Henghameh Saroukhani (Secretary-Treasurer), John Ball (Atlantic Representative) and Shamika Shabnam (Graduate Representative).

ACLALS 2019 – Auckland, New Zealand “The Uncommon Commonwealth”

ACLALS Chairs, Representatives and Organizers (left to right): John Ball, Russell McDougall, Claudia Marquis, Michael Bucknor, Irikidzayi Manase, Selina Tusitala Marsh, Henghameh Saroukhani, Chris Prentice, Carol Leon, Walter Perera and Isabel Carrera Suárez.


Many thanks to the brilliant organizers of this year’s triennial ACLALS conference “The Uncommon Commonwealth” held at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. The conference committee included: Assoc Professor Selina Tusitala Marsh, Dr Claudia Marquis, Assoc Professor Paula Morris, Professor Tom Bishop, and Professor Malcolm Campbell. Many thanks as well to the outgoing ACLALS chair Assoc Professor Chris Prentice for all of her hard work. Keynote speakers included: Witi Ihimaera, Elleke Boehmer, Arundhati Roy, Melissa Lucashenko and Kei Miller.

It was thrill to meet ACLALS members from around the world and across all associations. We look forward to seeing everyone again in three years!

For more information about the conference, visit the conference website at:


Graduate Student Presentation Prize – 2019

Margaret Boyce (McMaster University) wins the 2019 CACLALS Graduate Student Presentation Prize for her paper “Seeking Understanding in the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Inuit Exhibition Catalogues.”

Presentation Prize Panel (left to right) with Dr. Daniel Coleman (distinguished guest judge; McMaster), Margaret Boyce (McMaster), Connor Meeker (York), and Jonathan Nash (Victoria).

Congratulations to Margaret Boyce, PhD candidate at McMaster University, for being selected by judges Drs. Daniel Coleman, Jesse Arseneault and Asma Sayed as the winner of the 2019 CACLALS Graduate Student Presentation Prize.

Below are the citations by our judges for each finalist paper (in order of presentation):

Margaret Boyce’s paper offered an incisive exploration of the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s (WAG) exhibition catalogues of Inuit art, troubling how they stage the relationship between frequently settler bodies in the south and Inuit communities in the north. While the museum’s account of Inuit art figures it as a window into Inuit culture, Boyce’s paper traces how such rhetoric instead facilitates Canada’s effective occupation of the Arctic region by imagining the North as a blank slate onto which the Canadian state can project its own Northernness and assimilate Inuit art into an imagined Canadian unity. In the process of projecting Canada into Inuit histories, the paper suggests, the WAG simultaneously relegates Indigenous claims to sovereignty to the past. Boyce’s paper stood out for a number of reasons; it provided a clear direction for current and future research thinking through the particularities of Canada’s ongoing colonial control over the north not always legible in the theoretical frameworks of southern settler-colonialism, challenged conventional frames for reading Inuit art—especially those that rely on universalist notions of aesthetics and ethnographic readings of “culture”—and, finally, closed with a nod to the possibility that artworks themselves—rather than facilitating an encounter of domination—may be documents that refuse such an encounter.”

Connor Meeker provided a thoughtful close reading of the play Reckoning by Tara Beagan and Andy Moro, noting how the play works against the Canadian reconciliation paradigm by presenting how inequitable the affective labour required by the TRC process actually is and thus acknowledging the ongoing trauma of the residential schools in the very effort of reconciliation. The play, he pointed out, thus attempts to touch feeling without presenting  Indigenous pain for settler consumption. Setting this reading in the rich context of the financial and emotional economy within which the TRC operates as well as in relation to a range of Indigenous criticisms of reconciliation discourse, Connor highlighted how the art form of this play can offer an alternative way of storytelling that demonstrates the costs and quagmires of Canada’s settler colonial desire for reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.”

Jonathan Nash’s presentation proposed a new theoretical framework for looking at migration and detention in global literature and argued that we need new analytics that foregrounds self-making and world-making as its humanistic point of departure instead of biopower. Situating his reading of Kate Evan’s graphic journalism in the context of current global images of migration, he elaborated on self-making in narratives of migration and theories of ‘bare life’.”

For a description, criteria for judging, and other information about the prize, see Graduate Student Conference Presentation Prize.

CFP – Critical Perspectives on David Chariandy’s Writings

Call for Contributions

Edited collection

Critical perspectives on David Chariandy’s Writings

Editor: Rodolphe Solbiac Université des Antilles
(Presses Universitaires de l’Université des Antilles)


The literary work of Canadian Caribbean writer David Chariandy is a resounding and growing success in the contemporary literary world in Canada and beyond. His work dedicated to the re-territorialisation of Caribbean people in Canada and the transmission of Caribbean cultural memory to new generations is translated into French and several other languages.

After the success of his first novel entitled Soucouyant, published in 2007 and selected for eleven literary awards, his second novel, entitled Brother, impresses by the sensitivity it conveys and the craft of its prose.

Brother has been nominated for several prestigious Canadian literary awards and won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Award in 2017 and the Toronto Book Award in 2018. His work also includes a non-fiction prose book entitled I’ve Been Meaning To Tell You: A Letter to my Daughter published in 2018. Chariandy’s books have been published internationally and have been translated (or are being translated) into French, German, Spanish, Swedish, Catalan, Albanian and simplified Chinese.

If Soucouyant is taught in several universities in Canada, England and Martinique, with the outstanding release of Brother, it is necessary to give David Chariandy’s work critical attention in line with the importance of its public reception.

This special issue of the journal Etudes Caribéennes, entitled Perspectives critiques sur l’oeuvre de David Chariandy, will be the first bilingual (English-French) critical anthology devoted to David Chariandy’s work.

1) Abstracts should be sent to Rodolphe Solbiac, Associate Professor of Anglophone Caribbean Literature at the University of the West Indies by July 15, 2019.
2) Contributions should be sent to Rodolphe Solbiac, Associate Professor of Anglophone Caribbean Literature at the University of the West Indies by October 15, 2019.



Extended Deadline: Decolonial (Re)Visions of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror

Decolonial (Re)Visions of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror

Deadline extended: July 1, 2019

This special issue will address Black Canadian and Indigenous work in / with the genres of science fiction, fantasy and horror, both genre fiction proper and slipstream fiction. While there has been quite a bit of attention to African American SF and increasingly to the burgeoning of genre fiction on the African continent, and while Indigenous SF has been growing and attracting more attention, there has not been as much attention to the relationships between Indigenous and Black SF in Canada or to the particular ways Canada’s settler colonial past and present inform the ways Black Canadian and Indigenous writers engage with science fiction, fantasy and horror. How do Black and Indigenous writers respond to the different positions colonialism historically imposed on those who were subjected to alien abduction versus alien invasion? How do these genres re-present histories of slavery, genocide, displacement and dispossession? While the dynamic between Black and Indigenous histories is at play across the Americas, as Nalo Hopkinson’s work illustrates nicely, we ask whether there is something specific about the Canadian iteration of that hemispheric history. What does it mean to engage in a comparison of Black and Indigenous writing in the genres from this location, the settler-colonial formation called Canada? How else might we think of the relations and relays between blackness and indigeneity in modes other than the comparative? How do the genres of science fiction, fantasy and horror attend to the historically triangulated relations among settler, Indigenous and racialized immigrant peoples, including, for instance, Asian Canadians? What might be different about Asian Canadian engagement with this settler-colonial history? Whether in outer space, an alternate universe, a haunted house, or a mythic time, the worlds built in genre fiction seem to open up and provoke questions of how to both represent and transform the colonial conditions of our shared and still incommensurable world. How do Indigenous and Black Canadian writers working in or with these genres explore the possibilities for alternative kinds of social and political power–in other words, how do they take up the utopian impulses of conventional SF? This is the challenge of finding “new ways of doing things” that Nalo Hopkinson describes as the possibility in science fiction that is taken up by “the colonizee” as a form of critique.

We ask, further, how this comparative focus might allow for a critical engagement with Fredric Jameson’s claim that science fiction returns us to history by representing it as a speculative future, thus helping us to imagine ways past current political impasses. What does an Indigenous / Black novum look like? How do works of Afro- and Indigenous futurism also complicate the temporality of the novum by at times exploring what-could-have-been and what-always-has-been? In writing of recent African science fiction, Matthew Omelsky argues that it engages with a new form of biopolitics that he calls “neuropolitics,” by which he means the extension of power to “the control of memory and thought”; to what extent does Black / Indigenous SF exhibit a similar set of concerns?

Across these speculative, weird, and fantastic modes of storytelling, world-building and theorizing, how do Black and Indigenous authors grappling with the histories and the present of Canada find space to write within, persist within and demand the impossible?

For this special issue, we seek both scholarly essays on these questions and contributions from writers reflecting on their own work in / with these genres. In engaging with the questions outlined above, contributors might address, without feeling constrained by, the following specific themes:

  • Land and colonization
  • Contact and encounter
  • The postcolonial and the decolonial
  • Indigeneity and diaspora; sovereignty and belonging
  • Comparisons between Canadian decolonial and US / diasporic / African / antipodean (re)visions
  • Comparisons between Asian-Canadian and Indigenous and / or Black-Canadian SF
  • Contemporary ‘race science,’ scientific studies of ‘race’ and Black / Indigenous SF
  • Speculative / racialized revisionings of gender and sexuality
  • Critical utopias
  • Temporality: how does Indigenous and Black Canadian SF do the ‘future’ differently?
  • Enlightenment critique: scientific rationalism vs. non-European epistemologies
  • Tensions between Indigenous design / technologies and those introduced from without
  • Publishing media for genre fiction
  • Film and graphica
  • Monstrosity
  • Haunting
  • Possession and/or dispossession
  • The different modalities of fantasy, SF, horror
  • The apocalyptic

Special Issue editors: Lou Cornum, Suzette Mayr and Maureen Moynagh

The deadline for submissions is now July 1, 2019. Please consult for instructions on how to submit via Open Journal System. All papers submitted will undergo a formal peer review process through Canadian Literature. Essays should follow current MLA bibliographic format (MLA Handbook, 8th ed.)

Word length for articles is 6,500-7,000 words, which includes endnotes and works cited.

All correspondence will go through the CanLit office.