Mikinaakominis / TransCanadas
Literature, Justice, Relation
Warren Cariou · Afua Cooper · Dina Al-Kassim
Wednesday, May 24 – Saturday, May 27 2017
Mikinaakominis (Turtle Island) / TransCanadas: Literature, Justice, Relation brings together storytellers, poets, novelists, creative non-fiction writers, critics and interdisciplinary practitioners to expand the ongoing dialogue about the relationship of Canadian literatures to land, Indigenous resurgences, and Black, Muslim, Asian and other racialized subjectivities in the context of global human, nonhuman, economic, social, and ecological shifts. At both individual and collective levels, with a particular focus on developing decolonizing practices in the public sphere and in the humanities, Mikinaakominis / TransCanadas asks the hard questions that need to be asked now and attempts some provisional answers in the form of story, critique, poem, and experiment.
The overall goal of Mikinaakominis/TransCanadas is to significantly advance Canadian/Turtle Island cultural and intellectual discussion on the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. It is both a response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission process and Report and a continuation of the work of memory, history, cultural articulation, relationship-building and community-building that has always existed beside colonial, imperial and neo-imperialist projects, including the project of Canadian nation-building. Recognizing that coalition work is often, if not always, deeply entangled with projects of domination, we seek to articulate both when and how coalition can still be powerful and what its limits are. The objectives that guide this conference are:
- Expand the scope of how we understand Indigenous/non-Indigenous relations, particularly through literature, literary criticism, and cultural production. Given that so much of the work that has been done on this subject has been through the government itself and primarily through sociologically oriented practices, we strongly believe that the literary, cultural, and critical lines of inquiry can significantly address some of the impasses that have plagued the discussion so far, and thus help our society to move through them.
- Develop and sustain rigorous yet genuine and generous dialogue across disciplines (e.g., among writers, literary critics, cultural theorists, political scientists, sociologists, and activists) and communities (e.g., Indigenous, Black, Asian, Muslim, feminist, and GBLTQ) in the service of justice and relationship building that are attentive to historical and contemporary oppressions.
- Provide opportunities for students, writers, critics, and the public to engage in-depth in one of the most important questions of our historical moment: what role Canadian literature plays in building meaningful relations that can break the cycle of injustice that began with the colonial expropriation of Indigenous land.