L.M. Montgomery and the Politics of Home
The L.M. Montgomery Institute’s 16th Biennial International Conference
University of Prince Edward Island, 19-23 June 2024
“Oh, I’ve got such a lovely home,” breathed Pat, clasping her hands. “It’s such a nice, friendly house.”
—L.M. Montgomery, Pat of Silver Bush (1933)
It’s the home of my heart, this little room—the spot I love, for here I am happiest.
—L.M. Montgomery, 30 April 1903
When confronting the timeless questions “Who am I?” and “Where do I belong?”, we must reckon with two inarguable forces: politics and home. These forces inform who we are and how we are in the world. L.M. Montgomery was no exception—she was formed by the cultural and domestic politics of her time and place, and she engaged those politics in her work, alongside the ubiquitous motif of home. The year 2024 marks the 150th anniversary of Montgomery’s birth, and we especially wish to engage the specificity of the homes that shaped her as author, diarist, and public and private citizen.
We understand both home and politics in myriad ways. Home can be the place where we live–a domicile, a city, a country—and is inevitably shaped by economic, social, and governmental political forces. Home is potentially a native land, bound by kinship and past or current traditions, unified by cultural memory and driven by political impulses. Home might be a safe place, where we can be ourselves and where politics function to empower all members. Home can be a family of birth or of choice, or a community of acceptance—or rejection. Home can be a place lost through political displacement. Likewise, politics can be international, national, or local; secular or religious; household and domestic. Politics shape nations, villages, churches, and individuals. Politics and home are fundamental to public and private identity.
The 2024 conference invites proposals for research that considers the complex intersections of home and politics in L.M. Montgomery’s works and world. Submissions should engage one or both of these formative forces in Montgomery’s life, creative work, and life-writing. Possibilities include but are in no way limited to:
- Montgomery’s childhood home as literary landmark, tourist site, contested property, or sacred space;
- The political roots and history of Montgomery’s family;
- Montgomery as homemaker, including the aesthetics and relational dynamics she sought in her own homes;
- Montgomery’s engagement with the overtly political—her stances on matters such as war and suffrage;
- Depictions of home in Montgomery’s fiction, life-writing, and poetry: home-seeking as quest, home as refuge, home as contested space;
- Depictions of displacement in Montgomery’s fiction, life-writing, and poetry, such as displacement due to lack of economic status or social capital or through lack of political power;
- Representations of domestic violence and abuse and/or familial conflict;
- Land as contested space in Montgomery’s work, and her literary treatment of (or failure to acknowledge) the Indigenous peoples on whose land she made her own homes, including the ways in which Acadian and Mi’kmaw people and cultures continue to thrive;
- The conflicting sense of private and public selves Montgomery balanced in her life as minister’s wife and well-known author;
- Treatment of home—or politics—in adaptations and translations of Montgomery’s works;
- Treatment of cultures marginalized by Montgomery in her works or in adaptations of those works.
Montgomery’s complex relationships with homes, communities, and natural places enrich the possibilities for discussion, as does our own increasing awareness of and need to grapple with the marginalization, displacement, and continuing presence of Indigenous and Acadian peoples in and from the lands that Montgomery loved best.
Please submit 250–300-word proposals (individual paper and panel) and 100–150-word biographical statements to the submission form on the L.M. Montgomery Institute’s website (lmmontgomery.ca) by 15 August 2023.
Proposals should articulate a strong argument and situate that argument in the context of existing Montgomery scholarship. Individual paper and panel proposals are double-blind reviewed. We also welcome proposals for workshops, special exhibits, films, performances, or other visual displays engaging these ideas. Proposals that view Montgomery’s life and art from different cultural and theoretical perspectives are particularly encouraged. For more information, please contact Caroline Jones and Laura Robinson, co-chairs of the 2024 conference, firstname.lastname@example.org.
“L.M. Montgomery and the Politics of Home” is to be a hybrid conference. It will be held in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, on 19–23 June 2024; all sessions will be livestreamed, allowing for virtual presentation, attendance, and participation.