CFP: Working the frame: comparative approaches to Asian Canadian literature & culture, McMaster University

Call for papers
Working the Frame: Comparative Approaches to Asian Canadian Literature & Culture
John Douglas Taylor Conference 2012
McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada
October 25 & 26, 2012

Call for Papers
The emergence of Asian Canadian literature and culture as an identifiable force over the last twenty years is abundantly clear: Asian Canadian fiction and poetry have won major literary prizes, there are several active Asian Canadian theatre groups in major cities, and film festivals on Asian and Asian Canadian film are held annually. Despite the growing prominence of Asian Canadian arts, however, the broad public perception that we are living in a post-racial or even a post-national world makes it difficult to establish institutional grounding for a field founded on exploring racial, ethnic, and national identity; to date, no university program or department devoted to Asian Canadian Studies has emerged. Yet, as the recent Macleans article Too Asian? and the strong responses it has generated demonstrate, racial identity politics are neither obsolete nor dead, although new possibilities for coalitional opportunities have arisen between and among different racialized groups in Canada, and between different communities in the Asian diaspora. While the politics of race and identity have shifted over the last two decades with the turn to diaspora and transnational approaches in critical race studies, ethnic studies, postcolonial studies, and cultural studies, it is precisely this shift that demands attention to new developments in the circulation of knowledge about and the experience of race and nationality in Canada.

The purpose of this conference is to explore the current formation and future developments of Asian Canadian literature and culture in a comparative/relational frame, examining the possibilities and responsibilities of coalitional politics and collaborative cultural production, as well as the very definition of the term Asian Canadian. We invite proposals that engage with Asian Canadian literature and culture and are especially interested in research that investigates cross-cultural relationships, collaborations, and antagonisms recounted in, enacted by, or in conversation with Asian Canadian cultural products.

Topics for investigation into such comparative/relational work might include, but are not limited to, the following sets of literary, cultural, and theoretical relationships:

East Asian Canadian, Southeast Asian Canadian, South Asian Canadian, and West/Arab Asian Canadian
Anglophone and Francophone Asian Canadian
Asian Canadian and Indigenous
Asian Canadian and African/Caribbean Canadian
Asian Canadian beyond the West Coast and Southern Ontario
Asian Canadian and Asian American
Asian Canadian and Asian Caribbean
Asian Canadian and Asian Australian/New Zealander/Pacific Islander
Asian Canadian and British Asian
Asian Canadian and other identity categories: sexuality, gender, class, dis/ability

Keynote Lectures and Special Plenary Sessions
We are pleased to welcome two plenary speakers to Working the Frame: Comparative Approaches to Asian Canadian Literature and Culture: Lisa Lowe (University of California, San Diego) and Lily Cho (York University), whose recent, influential scholarship deals with comparative diaspora theory with a special focus on Asian diasporas. We are also happy to announce that Richard Fung (OCADU, Toronto), one of Canadas leading video artists, will host a screening of his latest work to open the conference on Thursday evening, to be followed on Friday by a plenary panel of activist-artists engaged with comparative/relational politics in their work.

Submission Guidelines
Please submit paper proposals (500 words maximum) and a brief CV (one page) to by February 15, 2012.

Conference Organizing Committee
Donald Goellnicht, Lisa Kabesh, Farah Moosa, Vinh Nguyen, Malissa Phung, and Y-Dang Troeung

John Douglas Taylor Conference 2012 Organizing Committee
Department of English and Cultural Studies
McMaster University
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, ON L8S 4L9
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