Desire, Empathy, Vulnerability: Representations of the “Foreign” in Canadian Women’s Writing
Speakers: Sherene Razack, Marlene Goldman, Karen Connelly, Camilla Gibb
Please click on the image below to download the event poster.
This one-day event will bring together a small group of scholars and writers—small so that there is the opportunity for intense discussion—to address the politics and ethics of Canadian women writers representing the other in texts that are situated beyond the boundaries of Canada itself. Authors from Dorothy Livesay and Margaret Laurence to Karen Connelly and Camilla Gibb have not only drawn on their own experiences abroad to inform textual representations of “foreign” subjects and spaces, but have also problematized the very possibility of representing cultural difference from a Canadian perspective. At the same time, these representations hold an increasingly privileged position with the Canadian literary economy, where accounts of “foreign” spaces gain authenticity through a collapsing of representation with the author’s own experiences.
Marlene Goldman is an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto where she teaches Canadian literature. She is the author of Paths of Desire (1997) and Rewriting Apocalypse in Canadian Fiction (2005). She recently completed a book, DisPossession: Haunting in Canadian Fiction about the motif of haunting in contemporary Canadian fiction, forthcoming McGill-Queen’s Press. She also co-edited three special issues of The University of Toronto Quarterly on “Ethics and Canadian Literature,” “Haunting in Canadian Culture,” and “Models of Mind and Consciousness.” She has also published numerous scholarly articles on Canadian writers such as Dionne Brand, Timothy Findley, Thomas King, Joy Kogawa, Daphne Marlatt, Alice Munro, Michael Ondaatje, Jane Urquhart, and Aritha van Herk.
Sherene Razack is professor, Sociology and Equity Studies in Education, the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. Her research and teaching interests lie in the area of race and gender issues in the law. Her courses include: ‘Race, Space and Citizenship,’ ‘Race and Knowledge Production’ and ‘Racial Violence and the Law.’ Her most recent book is an edited collection with Malinda Smith and Sunera Thobani entitled States of Race: Critical Race Feminism for the 21st Century (Toronto: Between the Lines, 2010). She has also published Casting Out: The Eviction of Muslims From Western Law and Politics (University of Toronto Press, 2008), Dark Threats and White Knights: The Somalia Affair, Peacekeeping and the New Imperialism (University of Toronto Press, 2004), an edited collection Race, Space and the Law: Unmapping A White Settler Society (Toronto: Between the Lines, 2002),Looking White People in the Eye: Gender, Race, and Culture in Courtrooms and Classrooms (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998,1999, 2000) and Canadian Feminism and the Law: The Women’s Legal and Education Fund and the Pursuit of Equality (Toronto: Second Story Press, 1991). Dr. Razack is a founding member of Researchers and Academics of Colour for Equality (R.A.C.E.)
Camilla Gibb is the author of four novels, including Sweetness in the Belly and The Beauty of Humanity Movement. She has been a Giller shortlist nominee, and winner of the Trillium Book Award, the City of Toronto Book Award and the CBC Canadian Literary Award. She holds a D.Phil. in social anthropology from Oxford University.
Karen Connelly is the author of nine books of best-selling nonfiction, fiction, and poetry, the most recent being Burmese Lessons, a love story, a memoir about her experiences in Burma and on the Thai-Burma border. She has won the Pat Lowther Award for her poetry, the Governor General’s Award for her non-fiction, and Britain’s Orange Broadband Prize for New Fiction for her first novel The Lizard Cage. Published in 2005, The Lizard Cage was compared in the New York Times Book Review to the works of Orwell, Solzhenitsyn, and Mandela, and hailed in the Globe and Mail as “one of the best modern Canadian novels.” Her other books include Grace and Poison, One Room in a Castle, This Brighter Prison, The Disorder of Love, and The Small Words in My Body. Married with a young child, she divides her time between a home in rural Greece and a home in Toronto.
1:30-2:30 – Panel I: The Ethics and Politics of Representing ‘Foreignness’
Marlene Goldman: “A Gothic Poetics: Flight and Rescue in Canadian Women’s Writing”
Sherene Razack: “Evangelical Impulses That Make the Heart Beat Fast: Saving Muslim Women”
2:30-2:45 Coffee Break
2:45-3:45 – Panel II: Travel, Writing, and Representing the ‘Foreign’
Karen Connelly and Camilla Gibb
3:45-4:00 – Coffee Break
4:00-5:00 – Round Table
Featuring Marlene Goldman, Sherene Razack, Karen Connelly and Camilla Gibb
5:00-6:00 – Reception