Indigeneity and Diaspora: Exploring Intersections through Canadian Literature Modern Languages Association Conference, January 9th-12th, 2014, Chicago

The MLA Canadian Literature in English Discussion Group is soliciting proposals for the following proposed panel:

As lived experiences, cultural formations, and political identifications, Indigeneity and diaspora may initially appear incommensurable. If Indigeneity is often associated with autochthony and dwelling in place, diaspora is conversely imagined in terms of displacement and movement. In recent years, however, new critical trajectories have complicated such dichotomies, demonstrating how, as James Clifford has suggested, “in everyday practices of mobility and dwelling, the line separating the diasporic from the indigenous thickens; a complex borderland opens up” (“Varieties of Indigenous Experience,” 199). How might critical examination of this borderland enrich understandings of the doubled dynamics of mobility and settlement shaping diasporic experiences? How might diaspora studies offer new insights into the ways that Indigenous peoples negotiate forced colonial displacement and dispossession?

The rise of new critical perspectives on indigeneity and diaspora has coincided with the emergence of exciting literary texts that examine these connections in the Canadian context. How do these texts imagine the pasts, presents, and futures of indigeneity and diaspora in Canada and beyond? In turn, how might new critical insights regarding the intersections between Indigeneity and diaspora inform our readings of earlier Canadian literature?

We invite conference paper proposals that address these questions through the study of contemporary and historical Canadian literary works. Possible areas of analysis include:

– the figure of the diasporic subject and the figure of the Indigene in historical Canadian literature

– intersecting histories of marginalization and trauma

– multiculturalism’s differential implications for diasporic and Indigenous peoples

– diaspora and First Peoples’ land rights

– cross-cultural alliances within the nation and beyond

– literature as a medium for alliance-building

Please send abstracts of no more than 400 words to Pauline Wakeham ( by March 1st, 2013.

Download the panel proposal here.

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