Keynotes Speakers: Bios and Abstracts
We are thrilled to announce that we have secured two fabulous plenary speakers for the Vancouver conference, thanks to partnerships with CACLALS.
Our Canadian keynote is David Chariandy, a Professor in the Department of English at Simon Fraser University and a well-known scholar in the fields of Black, Canadian, and Caribbean literatures. Chariandy teaches contemporary literature, especially Black, Canadian, and Caribbean prose forms. He also teaches creative writing and cultural studies. His scholarly criticism has been published in journals such as Callaloo, Transition Magazine, The Journal of West Indian Literature, Postcolonial Text, The Global South, and Topia, as well as in academic books such as the Oxford Handbook of Canadian Literature, The Routledge Companion to Caribbean Literature, and Narratives of Citizenship. He has co-edited three special issues of journals, most recently Transition Magazine 124: “Writing Black Canadas.”
His first novel entitled Soucouyant was nominated for eleven literary awards and prizes. It was longlisted for the 2007 Scotiabank Giller Prize, and the 2008 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and was shortlisted for the 2007 Governor General’s Award for English-language fiction, the 2008 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book of Canada and the Caribbean, the 2008 Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, the 2008 City of Toronto Book Award, the 2008 ReLit Award for fiction, and the 2007 Books in Canada First Novel Award. His second novel entitled Brother was longlisted for Canada Reads and the Scotiabank Giller Prize, named on eight year-end Canadian ‘Best Books’ lists, and won the 2017 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. His latest work of creative non-fiction is entitled I’ve Been Meaning To Tell You: A Letter To My Daughter. Chariandy’s books have been published internationally and have been translated (or are currently being translated) into French, German, Spanish, Swedish, Catalan, Albanian, and Simplified Chinese.
Originally from Scarborough, Ontario, Chariandy was trained at Carleton University (BA and MA) and York University (PhD).
by David Chariandy
In Dionne Brand’s recent novel Theory, the unidentified speaker attempts to complete a wildly ambitious thesis, confronting not only the distracting forces of three consecutive lovers, but also the question of ‘Theory’ itself, and the contradictions between the ideal of freely revolutionary research and writing, and the strictures of institutionally sanctioned language, methods, and references. One decidedly minor character appearing in a footnote near the end of the novel is ‘Chariandy,’ whose enthusiastic commentary on the writings of the brilliant ‘Xavier Simon’ serves, perhaps, as but a further cautionary illustration of the tension between authorized academic criticism and the sublime energies of Black art.
In the proposed work of auto-fiction, we will attempt to excavate the story of the mysterious ‘Chariandy,’ exploring his own complicated romance with ‘Theory’ in an academic moment and setting defined by post-structural melancholia, gloomy utilitarian architecture, an increasingly vocal racialized student body, and the neo-liberal assault upon an ostensibly ‘radical’ university. In particular, we will explore ‘Chariandy’s’ efforts to complete an original thesis on Black Canadian literature while secretly pursuing what he assumes is Theory’s wholly discredited notion of ‘creative writing.’
 A footnote.
Jasbir K. Puar
Our International keynote is Jasbir K. Puar, Professor and Graduate Director of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University, where she has been a faculty member since 2000. Her most recent book is The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability (2017), published with Duke University Press in the series ANIMA: Critical Race Studies Otherwise that she co-edits with Mel Chen. Puar is the author of award-winning Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times (2007), which has been re-issued in an expanded version for its 10th anniversary (December 2017).
Puar’s edited volumes include a special issue of GLQ (“Queer Tourism: Geographies of Globalization”) and co-edited volumes of Society and Space (“Sexuality and Space”), Social Text (“Interspecies”), and Women’s Studies Quarterly (“Viral”). She also writes for The Guardian, Huffington Post, Art India, The Feminist Review, Bully Bloggers, Jadaliyya, and Oh! Industry. Her writings have been translated into Polish, French, German, Croatian, Swedish, Norwegian, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, and Danish.
Puar’s major awards include a 2018 Fellowship from the Palestinian American Research Council, the 2013-14 Society for the Humanities Fellowship at Cornell University, the Edward Said Chair of American Studies 2012-13 at the American University of Beirut, a Rockefeller Fellowship at the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center (1999-2000) and a Ford Foundation grant for archival and ethnographic documentation work (2002-2003). She received the 2013 Modern Languages Association Gay Lesbian/Queer Caucus Michael Lynch Award for her years of scholar-activist work. In January 2013 she was honored with the Robert Sutherland Visitorship at Queens University, awarded to “a notable individual with expertise in race relations.” She has also received two awards for her graduate teaching, in 2011 from the Graduate School of Rutgers University and in 2012 from the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools. In 2017 Puar’s article “Bodies with New Organs: Becoming Trans, Becoming Disabled” (Social Text #124) was awarded the Modern Language Association’s Gay Lesbian/Queer Caucus’s Crompton-Noll Prize for Best LGBTQ Studies Article.
Distinguished lectureships include the Butrill Endowed Fund for Ethics Lecture at Texas A&M University (2017); the Hull Lecture on Women and Justice at University of California Santa Barbara (2015); the Lionel Cantu Memorial lecture at University of California Santa Cruz (2014); Henry Jackson Endowed Lectureship in International Relations at Whitman College (2014); the Peg Zeglin Brand Lecturer at Indiana University (2013); Whidden Lecturer at McMaster University (2013); Distinguished Visiting Professor at the American University of Cairo (2012); the Institute of Women’s Studies’ Shirley Greenberg Lecture at the University of Ottawa (2012).
Spatial Debilities: Slow Life and Carceral Capitalism in Palestine
by Jasbir K. Puar
There has been much written on the forms of control enacted in the splintering occupation of Palestine, in particular regarding mobility, identity, and spatiality, yet this vast scholarship has presumed the prominence of the abled-body that is hindered through the infrastructures of occupation. In this lecture I examine the splintering occupation in relation to disability and the spatial distribution of debilitation, highlighting the logistics of border crossings and movement in the West Bank in relation to disability rights frameworks. I argue two things: one, that the creation of what Celeste Langan terms “mobility disabilities” through both corporeal assault and infrastructural and bureaucratic means are not only central to the calculus of the occupation, but importantly, linked logics of debilitation; and two, that these calibrations of various types of movement are forms of carceral containment and enclosure that render specific stretchings of space and time, what we could call slow life.
Congress 2020 will take place May 30-June 5, 2020 at Western University.
The bid process for Congress 2021 is currently underway. Please see the Congress website for more information.
2018: University of Regina, May 26-29: program
2016: University of Calgary, May 28 -31: program
2015: University of Ottawa, May 30 May – 2 June 2015: program
2014: Brock University, May 24 – 27: program
2013: University of Victoria, June 1- 4: program
2012: University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University, May 26 – 29: program
2011: University of New Brunswick and St. Thomas University, May 28 – 31: program
2010: Concordia University, May 28-31: program
Programs before 2010 were published in the March issues of our newsletter, and can be found on our newsletter page.