Narrating Mennonite Canada: History and/as Literature
Please click on the image below to download the event poster.
On Friday, February 27th, 2009, TransCanada Institute hosted a one-day colloquium entitled “Narrating Mennonite Canada: History and/as Literature.” The colloquium brought together Canada’s preeminent Mennonite writer, two-time Governor General Award-winner Rudy Wiebe, with two of Canada’s leading scholars on Mennonite literature and Mennonite history, Dr. Hildi Tiessen of the University of Waterloo, and Dr. Royden Loewen, Chair of Mennonite Studies at the University of Winnipeg, and focused on how the experiences of Russian Canadians have been represented in literary and historical texts.
The colloquium was split into three events: Dr. Tiessen’s opening address explored Mennonite migrant writing within the context of contemporary theories of diaspora. The lengthy roundtable discussion on narrating Mennonite Canada, which included all three participants and was moderated by Rob Zacharias (Guelph), was introduced by Dr. Loewen’s examination of how time and narrative interact in Mennonites’ international communications. Rudy Wiebe concluded the events with an extensive reading that tracked his life-long literary engagement with First Nation’s leader Big Bear.
The intimate event drew scholars from Guelph, Waterloo, Western, Toronto, and Manitoba, and, in addition to extending recent work connecting Mennonite history and literature, it marked an important intervention into Mennonite studies in its engagement with theories of diaspora.
The colloquium was co-organized by Dr. Smaro Kamboureli, Director of TransCanada Institute, and Rob Zacharias, TransCanada Fellow and PhD candidate at the University of Guelph, and was generously sponsored by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Canada Research Chairs program, TransCanada Institute, and the School of English and Theatre Studies.