Onoto Watanna’s Cattle at 100: Indomitable Women in the West During the Chinese Exclusion Era
27-30 July 2023 / University of Calgary and Chinese Cultural Centre
Conference Keynotes will include:
- Lily Cho (York University), author of Mass Capture: Chinese Head Tax and the Making of Non-Citizens
- Nancy Rao (Rutgers University), author of Chinatown Opera Theater in North America
- Spencer Tricker (Clark University), author of the forthcoming Imminent Communities: Liberal Cosmopolitanism and Empire in Transpacific Literature (1849-1924)
- Diana Birchall, Winnifred Eaton’s granddaughter and author of Onoto Watanna: The Story of Winnifred Eaton
Conference Director: Mary Chapman, University of British Columbia
Deadline for Proposals (extended): September 30, 2022
You are invited to propose a scholarly paper, panel, or roundtable, or more public-facing creative presentation, performance, or screening to a conference designed to explore the career of Asian North American writer Winnifred Eaton Reeve (1875-1954) and her contexts..
The Montreal-born Eaton, sister of author Edith Eaton (“Sui Sin Far”), is recognized as the first Asian North American novelist. She published Miss Numé of Japan (1898), A Japanese Nightingale (1901), and other bestselling novels under the Japanese pen-name “Onoto Watanna”, a controversial persona that Eaton assumed for over two decades in denial of her Chinese ancestry.
Eaton was also an early Hollywood screenwriter, the first female head of Universal Studios’ scenario department, a prolific journalist, a poet, and a versatile author of fiction in a variety of modes, including naturalism, realism and middlebrow. Her masterful but little known naturalist novel Cattle (1923) and her western novel His Royal Nibs (1925) were written and set in Alberta.
The conference, which has been organized on the centenary of the publication of Eaton’s novel Cattle by the team who developed the Winnifred Eaton Archive, seeks to explore Eaton’s transnational and multi-genre career beyond her Japanese phase, particularly in response to newly recovered and digitized works by her, and to newly situate her within contexts including the Canadian west, Canadian literature, middlebrow fiction, film, Indigenous studies and studies of immigration, race, and gender..
2023 is also the centenary of the passage of Canada’s Chinese Immigration Act, sometimes referred to as Canada’s Chinese Exclusion Act. We invite presenters and attendees to consider Eaton’s controversial masquerade and complex representations of race in her work against the backdrop of over a century of anti-Asian racism and violence in North America and within a history of the Chinese diaspora.
We welcome individual or collaborative proposals for papers, panels, and roundtables on topics below:
We are particularly interested in:
- Critical responses to texts from the Winnifred Eaton Archive
- Proposals from graduate students
We continue to accept proposals on:
- The literary and cinematic works of Winnifred Eaton/Onoto Watanna and her peers (late 19th/early 20th-century writers)
- Eaton’s rich oeuvre: fiction, journalism, screenplays, drama, poetry
- Eaton’s transnational career (US, Canada, and Jamaica)
- Eaton, modernism, and cosmopolitanism
- The politics of literary recovery
- Teaching with the Winnifred Eaton Archive
- Digital Humanities and Asian North American literature and culture
- Eaton and Canadian nationalism
- Eaton and the Calgary literary community
- Early film, especially by women filmmakers and/or about the West
- Eaton’s adaptations: film, theatre, and source materials
- Early North American immigrant writing and mixed-race kinship
- Historic Asian North American literature and culture
- Asian North Americans in the West
- Prairie/Western literature
- Transnational North American literature during the Exclusion Era
- Eaton’s contemporaries and collaborators
- Progressive-Era writing by women
- Stenography and authorship in the Progressive Era
We also welcome creative proposals (for example, staged readings of plays or scripts by or about Eaton; film screenings; and more) and more public-facing work.
Proposal submissions guidelines:
- Paper (15-20 mins): 250-300-word abstract and short bio
- Panel (3-4 presenters): 250-300-word abstract, including presenter names and titles of presentations
- Roundtable (4-6 speakers): 250-300-word abstract, including speaker names and short bios
- Creative presentation (individual or collaborative): 250-300 word abstract and short bio
We are keen to support emerging scholars and graduate students and will attempt to lower barriers to their participation by making travel funding available and waiving registration fees.
Proposals received after July 28, 2022 are not eligible for potential travel funding.
To submit, please click here.
Categories: Non ACCUTE CFPs