2018 Presenter Abstracts and Bios for Saturday, May 26

DAY ONE SATURDAY, MAY 26TH

Saturday, May 26th, Session Two: 10:30 am-12:00 pm

Fiction and Reconciliation                                    LC 208

Kirsten Alm (Fairleigh Dickinson U), “‘The mountain’s neck moans’: Mourning Places in Robert Bringhurst’s ‘New World Suite N˚3’ and Tim Lilburn’s Assiniboia: Two Choral Performances and a Masque

Abstract: This paper examines works by two Western Canadian ecopoets: Robert Bringhurst’s “New World Suite N˚3” (2006) and Tim Lilburn’s Assiniboia: Two Choral Performances and a Masque (2012). Both of these works explicitly combine an environmentalist ethics with a critique of settler-colonial exploitation and abuse of indigenous peoples and suggest that mourning is an ethical response to colonialism in North America. However, by foregrounding settler mourning in their poems, both works repeat a colonial silencing of Indigenous voices in these works, suggesting some of the potential limits of these decolonizing efforts from these important contemporary Canadian poets.

Bio: Kirsten Alm received her Ph.D. from the University of Victoria where she completed a dissertation on representations of nature and literary acts of place-making in the writing of Wallace Stevens and Robert Bringhurst. She teaches English and History at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Vancouver.

Sharon Smulders (Mount Royal University), “The Politics of Self-Representation: Truth and Reconciliation in the Graphic Novel”

Abstract: This paper will rely on the work of Anishinaabe cultural theorist Gerald Vizenor to explore how the concepts of Native sovenance and Native survivance inform the rhetoric of truth and reconciliation in David Robertson’s Sugar Falls: A Residential School Story (2011) and Jason EagleSpeaker’s UNeducation, Vol.1: A Residential School Graphic Novel (2014). By moving to consider issues of authenticity, agency, and apology in Gord Downie’s Secret Path (2016), it will demonstrate how the metafictional frameworks for UNeducation and Sugar Falls illuminate a politics of Indigenous self-representation.

Bio: Sharon Smulders teaches English at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta. She has written on issues of race and representation in the work of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Beatrice Culleton Mosionier. Most recently, she published “Multiculturalism, Psychogeography, and Brian Doyle’s Angel Square: ‘A Dangerous Square to Cross’” in Jeunesse.

Lori Maddigan (Western University), “Constructing a Beautiful Lie: Untangling Threads of Truth in Lee Maracle’s Celia’s Song

Abstract: This paper examines how Lee Maracle, through the structural complexities she creates in Celia’s Song, conveys the difficulties her characters face in constructing a modern Indigenous identity in the wake of endless trauma by forcing the reader to experience the same challenges, specifically, overcoming the defamiliarization caused by disruptions in time and place; and piecing together a narrative despite missing, incomplete or ambiguous information.

Bio: Lori Maddigan is a PhD Candidate at the University of Western Ontario. Her research engages with biosemiotics and literature produced by Indigenous authors with focus on the often-overlooked stories of other-than-human characters.

Saturday, May 26th, Session Two: 10:30 am-12:00 pm

GP War Writing                                                 LC 207

Bridgette Brown (Carleton University), “The Canadian Magazine, Transperipheral Whiteness and the Soldier in the South African War”

Abstract: My paper reveals how The Canadian Magazine of Politics, Science, Art and Literature (1893-1939) produced the meanings of the South African War (1899-1902) for a Canadian audience. I examine how the Canadian soldier and literature were imbricated in discussions of national identity, as the colonial spaces of Canada and South Africa were drawn into comparison with one another. By focussing on the volunteer soldier and the Mountie, I argue that projects of colonial whiteness acted across imperial space to demonstrate how Canada’s identity of hegemonic masculinity was produced through both strong colonial distinctions and internal population differentiation.

Bio: Bridgette Brown is a PhD Candidate at Carleton University. Her dissertation examines Canadian print culture and considers transperipheral interactions between Canada and South Africa during the South African War (1899-1902).

Shandell Houlden (McMaster University), “When Fido Goes to War: Militarizing the Domestic”

Abstract: In this paper, I examine representations of military working dogs (MWDs) in photos by Adam Ferguson taken for a story in a 2014 issue of National Geographic, to trace the way that MWDs, as complex figures situated at the nexus of the domestic and war, serve to shape wider perceptions of war and the ongoing militarization of North American culture. I outline a tension between the banality of dogs as pets and the strangeness of dogs as weapons as an avenue towards understanding the ways by which perceptions of war become disarmed, even domesticated through such imagery.

Bio: Shandell Houlden is a PhD Candidate in the Department of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University. Her SSHRC-funded research examines relationships between nonhuman life, war, and the biopolitical. She also researches gendered online violence in academia.

Alicia Robinet (Western University), “The Panegyrics of Paardeberg: Commemorating the Battle of Paardeberg in Canadian South African War Writing”

Abstract: Upon the commemoration of the centenary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in April 2017, this paper returns to Canadian narratives of the Battle of Paardeberg (1900) during the South African War (1899-1902) by early-Canadian writers Elizabeth Macleod, William Hart-McHarg, and Charlie Twedell. The presentation will demonstrate the marked similarities between the narration of the battles as particularly Canadian victories that led to national independence to illustrate the degree to which national identity was linked to Canadian militarism prior to the First World War, and to interrogate the mythology of Vimy as the moment of national becoming.

Bio: Alicia Robinet is an Instructor at Huron and Brescia University Colleges at Western University, the ACCUTE Coordinator, and a PhD Candidate at Western University in the Department of English and Writing Studies.

Sean A. McPhail (The University of Toronto), “‘Citizens of Death’s Grey Land’: Siegfried Sassoon’s Frontline and Homefront Verse”

Abstract: My paper investigates how Great War soldier Siegfried Sassoon sought to escape the physical discomforts of trench life by mentally fleeing into literary depictions of a pastoral England. This action is explained in his memoirs, and inflects much of the lyric poetry composed in dugouts in France. With the poet’s removal from the source of his discomfort and his return to England, however, comes a shift in the poetry. Sassoon’s poetry composed at home inverts this Arcadianism, portraying instead an apocalyptic antipastoral deathscape that deliberately attacks its non-combatant reader, who has never left the comfort of home.

Bio: Sean A. McPhail is a third-year PhD candidate at the University of Toronto, where his dissertation investigates the role of fictive kinship in the poetry and memoirs of English (and sometimes German) Great War soldiers like Siegfried Sassoon. Other scholarly interests include twentieth century German fiction and the short story.

Saturday, May 26th, Session Two: 10:30 am-12:00 pm

MO Content and Trigger Warnings                         LC 211

Kala Hirtle (Dalhousie), “Quality Television and Teaching using Trigger Warnings”

Abstract: :  In my proposed paper, “Quality Television and Teaching using Trigger Warnings,” I want to discuss my teaching philosophy surrounding trigger warnings and explain how I teach challenging material, such as sexual violence. I would like to present this approach in relation to how I teach potentially triggering texts by including some of the close-reading and big picture activities and workshops I ask the students to engage with. In particular, I will focus on how I teach Game of Thrones, a “quality television” show that gratuitously objectifies and enacts sexual violence upon its characters’ bodies.

Bio: Kala Hirtle is a Killam-funded doctoral candidate in English at Dalhousie University. Her dissertation builds on her interest in medical humanities and is tentatively titled “Altered States of Consciousness: Gender, Nineteenth-Century Medical Discourse and Gothic Literature.” Her most recent publication can be found in African American Review.

Lucia Lorenzi (McMaster University), “Trigger-Shy: Opposing A Singular Model of Trauma, Embracing an Ethos of Care”

Abstract: I argue that what is at play in the trigger warning debate is a fundamental anxiety about trauma and how it seems to resist easy categorization. While trigger warnings were once reserved for events or representations that one might “definitively agree” might be re-traumatizing, an increased understanding of trauma has expanded the conversation to include triggers that others might perceive as innocuous. The potential for trauma to appropriate and affect any type of representation or experience that means that any effort to create a definitive list of triggering elements is ultimately impossible. Trauma’s malleability, then, requires pedagogy to be informed not by clinical or singular models of trauma, but by a larger ethos of care.

Bio: Lucia Lorenzi is a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University. Her research focuses on representations of sexual assault, including theories of the unspeakable and perpetrator narratives. She is trained as a Canadianist, with special interests in Canadian theatre and Black Canadian writing.

Hannah McGregor (Simon Fraser University), “Emails with My Dad, or What the hell has happened to free speech in universities?

Abstract: This presentation will come at the question of trigger warnings sideways, through a discussion of how trigger warnings are being framed in media discussions of post-secondary education, and how and why instructors need to be intervening in these conversations. I will use an unexpected email exchange with my father as a jumping-off point to talk about how non-academics perceive the work we’re doing in the classroom, and to what degree educating people about education needs to become part of that work. With college and universities at the centre of conversations about free speech and social justice, is it past time for our pedagogy to go public?

Bio: Hannah McGregor is an Assistant Professor of Publishing at Simon Fraser University, where her research and teaching focus on the histories and futures of print and digital media in Canada. She is the co-creator of Witch, Please, a feminist podcast on the Harry Potter world, and the creator of the weekly podcast Secret Feminist Agenda.

Saturday, May 26th, Session Two: 10:30 am-12:00 pm

MO Uneasy Feelings: Space, Affective Relations, and Dis/orientation                                     LC 202

Courtney Church (Western University), “‘A Consolidated Consciousness’: Staging the Immaterial Mind in Sarah Kane’s 4.48 Psychosis

Abstract: This paper examines the structural disorientation of Sarah Kane’s 4.48 Psychosis. Though she labels her play a “text for performance,” (Saunders 2009) Kane does not indicate how a performance should occur, omitting stage directions and set parameters. I read the play though J. Hillis Miller’s concept, “atopical topography,” a space “between ‘imagination’ and ‘reality’” (257). I argue that the play’s ill-defined theatrical space requires Kane’s speaker to create a cerebral space for herself, one in which she rejects the diagnostic authority of mental health professionals. Instead, the speaker defines herself in relation to both physical and
metaphorical space.

Bio: Courtney Church is a PhD Candidate at Western University. Her research interests include theater and performance in the twentieth century as it relates to Thing Theory. She maintains particular interest in the work of Samuel Beckett, Tom Stoppard, and Sarah Kane.

Adela Talbot (Western University), “Disembodied Discomfort, Embodied Pleasure: Sadomasochism and the Unbearable in Mary Gaitskill’s Secretary

Abstract: Approaching Gaitskill’s Secretary by way of Lauren Berlant and Lee Edelman’s Sex, Or the Unbearable, my paper argues that in her final sexual encounter with the lawyer, Debby, the title character, is forced to face a paralyzing discrepancy between her desire for pleasure in a mutual sadomasochistic exchange and a demurely disembodied self, as well as a disconnect between her desire and the sort of relationality the lawyer offers. While an encounter with the unbearable creates space for change, for Debby, the final encounter with the lawyer results in paralysis – the abysmal limit Edelman presents.

Bio: I completed my BA in English at Western and my MA at McMaster nearly a decade ago. I also have an MA in Journalism from Western and have worked in the field since 2011. I am in my first year of an English PhD at Western, studying affect theory, humility and self-effacement in Leonard Cohen, Alice Munro and Carol Shields.

Sarah Kent (Queen’s University), “‘The body absorbs the blues’: Epidermalization and Affect in Patricia Smith’s ‘Wound of No Exit’

Abstract: Reworking Trayvon Martin’s autopsy report, Patricia Smith’s poem “No Wound of Exit” foregrounds the affective experience of grief that stems from the ongoing genocide of black communities. Placing her poem in conversation with Frantz Fanon’s examinations of epidermalization and Sara Ahmed’s theorizations of affect, this paper first parses how the black subject is made to feel out of place with the hegemonically constructed category of the human. This paper then turns to the liberatory possibilities of disruptive affects that unsettle the continuities of racism and white supremacy.

Bio: Sarah Kent is a settler-scholar completing her doctoral work in the Department of English at Queen’s University, situated on the traditional territories of the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee peoples. Spanning Postcolonial and Indigenous studies, her research attends to the intersections of affect theory, questions of the human, and decolonization.

Saturday, May 26th, Session Two: 10:30 am-12:00 pm

GP Done Like Dinner: Taste & Consumption  LI 119

Lin Young (Queen’s University), “Deadly Nausea and Monstrous Ingestion: Moral-Medical Fantasies in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Abstract: This paper explores Stevenson’s use of dual languages of infection and contamination in Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and seeks to place them in context with the nineteenth-century’s social preoccupations with controlling internal and external bodily health, invasive hygiene, and the dangers of urban food production.

Bio: Lin Young is a fourth year PhD candidate at Queen’s University whose research interests include ghost fiction and object studies. She is also Editor in Chief of The Lamp, a creative writing journal currently enjoying its eighth year of publication. Her paper, ““To Talk of Many Things”: Chaotic Empathy and Anxieties of Victorian Taxidermy in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”, received the 2016 Hamilton Prize and is forthcoming from the Victorian Review. Recent publications also include work on Emily Carroll and neo-Victorian haunting in the International Journal of Comic Art.

Janice Niemann (University of Victoria), “Dressing for Dinner: Embodied Gastronomy in Elizabeth Gaskell’s Mary Barton

Abstract: Reading Elizabeth Gaskell’s Mary Barton (1848) through the feminist-vegetarian lens that Carol J. Adams outlines in The Sexual Politics of Meat (1990) positions Mary Barton alongside consumable goods, like food. In Gaskell’s novel, the power that comes with eating is male; thus, I argue that Mary’s position as a metaphorically consumable object produces in the men around her an increased sense of masculinity, the same effect that Adams argues is produced by the consumption of meat. In likening Mary to various viands and situating her in spaces that encourage consumption, Gaskell has her protagonist embody gastronomy.

Bio: Janice Niemann is a PhD student at the University of Victoria, working under the supervision Dr. Lisa Surridge. She received her BA and MA from Queen’s University. Her primary research interests include domesticity, gardens and shrubberies, and intrafamilial relationships in Victorian fiction and children’s literature.

Catherine Andre (Queen’s University), “Transcommunal Resistance to Canadian (Post)Multicultural Trends in Lien Chao’s The Chinese Knot

Abstract: The twenty-first century term “post-multiculturalism” defines the period during which Canadian multiculturalism’s “unity through diversity” model homogenizes difference. Challenges to Canada’s increasing cultural homogenization appear in Lien Chao’s The Chinese Knot, such as in Katherine’s accommodation of the various tastes of her family as she cooks dinner in “African Lion Safari.” Her wok becomes a metaphor for transcommunal space as Katherine wonders, “How are we ever going to juggle all these different tastes in a single wok?” My paper considers how Chao’s text answers this question regarding healthy transcommunal space and whether it posits a literary resistance to post-multiculturalism.

Bio: Catherine André is a PhD Candidate who specializes in Canadian Literatures at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. She studies Toronto-based Anishinaabe, Chinese-Canadian, and Caribbean-Canadian authors to consider their potential literary resistance to an evolving Canadian multiculturalism with the help of a Canada Graduate Scholarship and the 2017 Mark Madoff prize.

Saturday, May 26th, Session Two: 10:30 am-12:00 pm

GP Power Lines                                                 LI 120

Allan Weiss (York University), “The Plague Apocalypse and the Technological Vector”

Abstract: Apocalyptic science fiction involving global plagues fits into a long tradition of plague narratives. While the plagues in Mary Shelley’s The Last Man (1826), Jack London’s The Scarlet Plague (1912), George R. Stewart’s Earth Abides (1949), and Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven (1914) might seem like wholly natural events, humans contribute to our own demise. In Shelley’s novel, imperialist wars and ships carry plague throughout Western civilization. Airships in London’s novel and airplanes in Stewart’s and Mandel’s texts turn local epidemics into global pandemics. Our transportation technology becomes disease vectors, thereby making us morally responsible for the apocalypse.

Bio: Allan Weiss is Associate Professor of English and Humanities at York University. He has published two short-story cycles, Living Room (2001) and Making the Rounds (2016), and compiled A Comprehensive Bibliography of English-Canadian Short Stories, 1950-1983 (1988). He also edited The Canadian Fantastic in Focus (2014), a volume of conference proceedings.

Jason Haslam (Dalhousie University), “‘The electric feeling in the air’: Stoker’s Gothic Energies”

Abstract: This paper builds on earlier studies of Bram Stoker and energy industries to argue that Dracula (1897), when read through his earlier novel The Snake’s Pass (1890), employs Gothic, immaterial energies to highlight the consequences of both an unwavering belief in new energy technologies, such as electricity, and an unyielding appeal to the past authority of older means of production. Read through The Snake’s Pass, Dracula’s various forays into energy expose a concern about the hollow authority of social structures built on older technologies, and a fear of who will control—and to what purpose—the energies of the future.

Bio: Jason Haslam is Professor of English at Dalhousie University. He is the author or editor of several books: most recently, the monograph Gender, Race, and American Science Fiction; the textbook Thinking Popular Culture ; and the essay collection American Gothic Culture. He is currently co-president of the International Gothic Association.

Victoria Schramm (University of Saskatchewan), “Atypical Cyborgs: Living Buildings and High-Tech Humans in J.G. Ballard’s High-Rise

Abstract: J.G. Ballard’s High-Rise and its film adaptation criticize irresponsible development of technology by featuring a dystopian society that evolves from the characters’ neglect of a human-like high-rise. Interpreting the high-rise environment as a mistreated character shifts the blame for the story’s violence from the futuristic setting to the people who created and subsequently abused the building. The works present atypical cyborgs, such as the personified building, to challenge our understanding of what it means to be human. High-Rise warns audiences that technological innovation must be tempered by moral responsibility if society is to retain its humanity in a high-tech future.

Bio: Victoria Schramm is a second-year M.A. student studying English at the University of Saskatchewan. She received her B.A. Honours degree from the University of Saskatchewan and studied at the University of Oxford. Her focus is on Canadian literature, such as the works of Ethel Wilson, and film studies.

Saturday, May 26th, Session Three: 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm

GP Strong Poisons & Lethal Cures: Mystery & Magic                                                            LC 207

MacKenzie Read (University of Saskatchewan), “‘Let’s Sit Crooked and Talk Straight’: My Favorite Murder and New Spaces for Women’s Stories”

Abstract: This presentation explores the ways in which hosts Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark of the American weekly podcast, My Favorite Murder, have created a new platform for women’s voices and stories through the podcast medium and social media. It argues that the podcast’s astounding success is due in part to its unique structure and style and its presence in new media. Furthermore, this presentation will address the podcast’s criticism that it privileges stories of straight, white, cis women over the stories of women of colour and members from the trans and queer communities.

Bio: MacKenzie Read is in her first year of the M.A. program at the University of Saskatchewan. She is focusing on film, cultural studies, and American literature. She completed her B.A. Honours in English and B.Ed at the University of Saskatchewan. She has also studied at the University of Newcastle in Australia.

Ann Martin (University of Saskatchewan), “‘You’re nothing but a pack of cards!’: Alice and Interpretative Agency in Dorothy L. Sayers’s Strong Poison

Abstract: Dorothy L. Sayers’s detective fiction is a form of middlebrow literature that mediates modernity for a wide readership. Intertextuality is integral to her interwar Lord Peter Wimsey series. Her allusions represent a narrative strategy, as Sayers and her characters engage with shifting perceptions of gender and sexuality. Through parody and direct allusions to the Alice books in her novel Strong Poison (1930), Sayers recalls the methods of Lewis Carroll and his critique of authority figures. What emerges is a cross-generational literary dynamic through which Sayers models an interactive reading practice that has social as well as cultural implications.

Bio: Ann Martin publishes on Anglo-American and Canadian modernisms. Publications include Red Riding Hood and the Wolf in Bed: Modernism’s Fairy Tales (UTP 2006), the co-edited Interdisciplinary / Multidisciplinary Woolf (CUP 2013), and Virginia Woolf in the Modern Machine Age, a special issue of the Virginia Woolf Miscellany (Fall 2015/Winter 2016).

Margaret Ward (University of New Brunswick), “The Threat of Female Sexuality in BBC’s The Fall

Abstract: BBC Two’s serial-killer drama The Fall (2013-2016) explores the complex dynamics of erotic power and masculine anxieties stemming from female sexual agency. Female sexual desire and erotic domination are perceived as threats to masculinity and masculine power that can only be tamed through violence and death. Juxtaposing a man whose aim is to control women’s bodies with a woman who succeeds in controlling her own, The Fall demonstrates how contemporary rape culture emphasizes male power over women as opposed to sexual desire. The program thus forces viewers to question the ways in which social ideals permit or admonish erotic power based on gender.

Bio: Maggie Ward is a second-year MA student at the University of New Brunswick. She is currently completing a SSHRC-funded thesis in Indigenous-Canadian women’s literature.

Mark Buchanan (York University), “‘Giddiness, Recklessness, and Dangerous Overconfidence’: Racial Hierarchies, Wizarding Privilege, and the Use of Potions in Harry Potter

Abstract: The Harry Potter corpus often appears at first glance to promote cultural diversity and acceptance. Despite these findings, however, Harry Potter still contains many aspects, which are not inclusive, do not promote diversity or acceptance, and contain many racist and xenophobic undertones. This lurking racism can be seen in the way that potions are created and used within Rowling’s secondary-world. Those who are seen as protagonists, especially the titular Harry Potter, maintain a moral high ground, which gives them an implied status over other wizards. This privilege and exceptionalism can most clearly be seen in Harry, but it is also evident in the depiction of potions, which are exclusively meant to be the realm of wizards.

Bio: Mark Buchanan is a PhD student at York University who researches alcohol use in Canadian speculative fiction. He has previously written on how alcohol use in Harry Potter perpetuates late-Victorian traditions of racism, sexism, and classism.

Saturday, May 26th, Session Three: 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm

JO CAAS-ACCUTE American Monuments and White Supremacy                                    LC 211

Jennifer Andrews (UNB), “Refusing to Sustain a Convenient Fiction: Rewriting Canada’s Virtuousness in Ben Winter’s Underground Airlines

Abstract: By pairing a close reading of how Canada’s complicity sustains slavery in a dystopian America in Ben Winter’s novel, Underground Airlines, with recent grass-roots efforts by African-Canadian communities in Quebec and the rest of Canada to acknowledge the history of slave ownership in this country, I suggest that Canada itself functions literally and metaphorically as a monument—north of the 49th parallel—to ignorance and exceptionalist arrogance, complicating contemporary discussions of white supremacy and American monuments in unique ways.

Bio: Jennifer Andrews teaches in the Department of English at UNB.  Her current research project is a monograph titled Americans Write Canada.

Peter Brown (Mount Allison), “Ordering Public Places: William Faulkner, Monuments, and Oxford, Mississippi”

Abstract: Starting with a discussion of the appearance of a statue of a Confederate soldier in The Sound and the Fury and with current debates about its possible removal, my paper explores the relationship between public space and memory in Faulkner’s work. I analyze how Faulkner’s fiction acts as a monument to the South that shapes the ways in which his readers apprehend and understand the city of Oxford, Mississippi. I consider Faulkner’s ambivalence toward the South and how the ambiguities of his fiction help us to make sense of Southern history.

Bio: Peter Robert Brown is an Associate Professor of English at Mount Allison University where he teaches courses in film, critical theory, and twentieth-century British and American literature.

Andrew Loman (MUN), “Anarcha, A Subtlety, and the Central Park Statue of Marion Sims”

Abstract:

Bio:

Saturday, May 26th, Session Three: 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm

GP Political Futures                                                 LC 202

Emmanuelle Andrews (University of British Columbia), “Aporia: Disrupting the Logics of (Settler) (De)colonialism for the Present”

Abstract: Against the debate within decolonial and settler decolonial studies that take their points of departure from the past, I hope to offer an alternative: the present. Reading Morrison’s Beloved and Qwo-Li Driskill’s Walking with Ghosts, I propose the Derridian term “aporia” as the literary function and means of survival through which both authors make their cases for generative black and Indigenous lives. Following Christina Sharpe’s notion of “anagrammatical blackness,” however, I complicate this term to propose aporia as a state of being that allows for the simultaneous move away from, yet rest within, the incomprehensible violence of colonialism. This, then, might provide a meeting point for decolonial projects that enables a potential rallying around shared, future imaginations.

Bio: Emmanuelle Andrews is a student at the Social Justice Institute at the University of British Columbia, where she is in her second year of the MA in Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice. Her interests include critical race studies, black Feminism and critical social justice.

Diana Brydon (University of Manitoba), “Living Enlightenment Legacies in a Globalized Twenty-Fifth Century: Ada Palmer’s Terra Ignota Series”

Abstract: This paper reads Ada Palmer’s Terra Ignota series within the contexts of alternative histories of the present. Palmer uses speculative fiction to revisit the legacies of the European Enlightenment through a defamiliarized lens. I will be asking to what extent she identifies the “political unconscious” of our globalized times, and to what extent, despite its global veneer, the series reflects a current crisis of the global North and its justifying logic of liberal humanism. The series is fascinating for the ways in which it constructs an alternative future in which diversities are apparently respected yet in which the most stubborn ghosts of the past continue to haunt and shape the present.

Bio: Diana Brydon is Canada Research Chair in Globalization and Cultural Studies at the University of Manitoba. A specialist in Canadian and postcolonial literary studies, she investigates the interplay of national and global imaginaries within contemporary fiction. She has recently published Concurrent Imaginaries, Postcolonial Worlds: Toward Revised Histories (2017).

Lynn Wells (First Nations University of Canada), “Love in the Time of Trump: Writing the Contemporary in McEwan and Rushdie”

Abstract: This paper will discuss how Nutshell (2016) by Ian McEwan and The Golden House (2017) by Salman Rushdie reflect proximate versions of the “now” while calling our attention as readers to the limitation of our ability to understand the contemporary. Both novels were written in the period leading up to the 2016 presidential race. Without knowing the outcome of the election, both novelists have created projections of the troubled state in which we are currently living. Both texts use familial stories to reflect the corrupted ethics of American and world affairs.

Bio: Dr. Lynn Wells is a Professor of English at First Nations University of Canada, where she also served as Vice-President Academic. She specializes in Contemporary British Fiction, and published extensively on Ian McEwan, Salman Rushdie, Zadie Smith and others.

Saturday, May 26th, Session Three: 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm

MO The Cannibalism Motif                                    LI 119

Veronica Austen (St. Jerome’s University at the University of Waterloo), “Abject Eating in Kim Fu’s For Today I Am a Boy

Abstract: This paper explores acts of eating in Kim Fu’s For Today I Am a Boy as reflective of one’s relationship with self/body. For the main character in particular, acts of eating come to signify a navigation of his identification as female. Interpreting acts of eating in this text as self-cannibalizing, this paper asserts that eating signifies the dissolution, rather than the building up, of bodies and selves.

Bio: Veronica Austen specializes in Canadian and Post-colonial literatures at St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo, Ontario. Her current research splits its focus between representations of acts of eating as measures of power and representations of the visual arts in contemporary Canadian Literature.

Cameron Riddell and Diana Samu-Visser (Western University), “Minos’ Triumph: Teratology and Mythmaking in Hannibal (2013)”

Abstract: Cannibalism becomes an art-form insofar as its aesthetics pervert the distinction between high and common tastes. Further, cannibalism complicates ontological categories of subject/object/abject. To eat of someone is, by varying estimation: to feed upon, to carry, to incorporate into. The borders and distinctions of death and sex, etiquette and taboo, the mind and the body, the self and the other, the sacred and profane–all are intensified and dissolved in a revisitation of the minotaur myth in Hannibal (2013).  Hannibal, after all, is primarily a chef: he blurs and mixes, encouraging liminality and bleedthrough, in the pursuit of aesthetic and thanatological mastery.

Bios: This paper is co-authored by Diana Samu-Visser and Cameron Riddell, fourth year PhD students in the department of English at Western University.

Cassandra Ozog (University of Regina), “‘Call him what he is…a cannibal killer’: Archetypes of Horror in the Reporting of Vince Li”

Abstract: In July 2008, on a Greyhound bus in rural Manitoba, Vincent Li killed passenger Tim McLean, ultimately beheading him and consuming parts of his body. This paper argues that Vince Li’s story was highlighted in the news as a violent tale of the Other, an inhuman monster who consumes the flesh of innocent victims. Elements of the story all harken to long-held and easily recognized horror film archetypes. I argue that these, and other horror archetypes, were continuously highlighted as visual markers to the audience that this story, and cannibalistic monsters such as Li, were to be feared.

Bio: Cassandra is currently a PhD student at the University of Regina, working on a special case interdisciplinary project in sociology and visual studies on negative narratives of mental illness in the media. She is also a sessional instructor in the Department of Sociology and Social Studies.