International Conference - In-Between: Liminal Spaces in Canadian Literature and Culture 2016 Graz

  • Conference Call
  • This Inter­na­tional Con­fer­ence enti­tled “In-​Between: Lim­i­nal Spaces in Cana­dian Lit­er­a­ture and Cul­ture” aims at bring­ing together schol­ars who wish to engage in a dis­cus­sion of Cana­dian lim­i­nal spaces and places, of frag­mented and con­tra­dic­tory social, cul­tural, and polit­i­cal prac­tices, of real and imag­ined bor­ders, con­tact zones, thresh­olds, and tran­si­tions in Anglo-​Canadian lit­er­a­ture and cul­ture. The con­fer­ence is organ­ised by the Cen­ter for Inter-​American Stud­ies in coop­er­a­tion with the Depart­ment of Amer­i­can Stud­ies at the Karl-​Franzens-​Universität Graz in Graz, Aus­tria on June 24, 2016.

    Keynote Speakers

    • Aritha VAN HERK – Uni­ver­sity of Cal­gary: “Trip­ping on the Thresh­old; Grop­ing in the Dark“
    • Rein­gard NIS­CHIK – Uni­ver­sity of Kon­stanz: “Mul­ti­ple Lim­i­nal­ity: Aging in Cana­dian Short Fic­tion”
    • Mar­lene Gold­man – Uni­ver­sity of Toronto: “Cana­dian Per­form­ers from the Rag­ing Grannies to Alice Munro: Undo­ing Shame through the Queer Art of Fail­ure”

    Con­fer­ence Theme

    In Cana­dian Stud­ies, the com­plex con­cept of ‘lim­i­nal­ity’ has been used in a vari­ety of ways. There is an abun­dance of schol­ar­ship and research deal­ing with the stage ‘betwixt and between,’ as Vic­tor Turner most famously defined it (1964). This con­fer­ence aims at re-​mapping the field, focus­ing on lim­i­nal­ity and the lim­i­nal within Canada.

    The terms ‘lim­i­nal’ and ‘lim­i­nal­ity’ refer to mul­ti­ple lev­els of mean­ing. Orig­i­nally devel­oped by cul­tural anthro­pol­o­gist Arnold van Gen­nep in his sem­i­nal stud­ies on rites of pas­sage in 1909, and re-​discovered by Vic­tor Turner in the 1960s, the spa­tial metaphor of ‘lim­i­nal­ity’ has par­tic­u­larly since the ‘Spa­tial Turn’ become a key­word in con­tem­po­rary cul­tural the­ory to refer to processes of iden­tity nego­ti­a­tion con­nected to expe­ri­ences of tran­si­tion. It has been used in con­nec­tion with terms such as ‘bor­der,’ ‘fron­tier,’ and ‘thresh­old,’ and in oppo­si­tion to the equally metaphor­i­cal con­cept of ‘mar­gin­al­ity.’ While mar­gin­al­ity con­notes ‘periph­ery,’ and thus mainly focuses on exclu­sion from and by dom­i­nant dis­courses, lim­i­nal­ity is con­cerned with the space of the bor­der­line itself, with feel­ings of ambi­gu­ity and ambivalence.

    Lim­i­nal­ity can be expe­ri­enced as chal­leng­ing, uncom­fort­able, threat­en­ing, and dis­rup­tive, but also as sub­ver­sive and pow­er­ful, as a stage facil­i­tat­ing cre­ativ­ity and change. In the con­text of (Anglo-​) Cana­dian Stud­ies, lim­i­nal­ity has been employed to dis­cuss geo­graph­i­cal fron­tiers such as the Nia­gara Falls, the St. Lau­rence River, the Rocky Moun­tains, the Cana­dian Prairies, British Colum­bia, Que­bec, and the Arc­tic, as well as sym­bolic fron­tiers includ­ing migra­tion, French-​English rela­tions, encoun­ters between First Nations and set­tlers, and Northrop Frye’s ‘gar­ri­son men­tal­ity.’ Lim­i­nal­ity has also been exam­ined as an aes­thetic con­cept in its rela­tion to the sub­lime and the uncanny.

    As a the­o­ret­i­cal con­cept, lim­i­nal­ity can be of help for an analy­sis of the con­struct­ed­ness of Canada’s col­lec­tive identity/​identities as well as of indi­vid­ual processes of iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and change. These obser­va­tions lead us to the fol­low­ing ques­tions: How has the Cana­dian cul­tural imag­i­nary fash­ioned itself with regard to the ‘bound­ari­ness’ of its social and iden­ti­fi­ca­tory prac­tices? Which role do sym­bolic ‘fron­tiers’ play in Cana­dian dis­courses of self-​representation (with respect to inner-​Canadian bor­der areas, but also in com­par­i­son to the U.S. Amer­i­can fron­tier)? How do eth­nic, sex­ual, and other minori­ties posi­tion them­selves in this nexus of lim­i­nal identities?

    Con­fer­ence Topics

    Top­ics may include, but are not lim­ited to, the following:

    • Geo­graph­i­cal and imag­ined borders
    • Spa­tial and tem­po­ral liminalities
    • Cana­dian ‘frontiers’
    • The rela­tion­ship between anglo­phone and fran­coph­one Canada
    • The Cana­dian North
    • Cul­tural the­ory and the lim­its of post­mod­ernism (e.g. Derrida’s ‘limitrophy’)
    • The aes­thet­ics and poet­ics of liminality
    • The lim­i­nal and the subliminal
    • Genre, media, and intertextuality
    • Cul­tural encoun­ters and First Nations
    • Queer cul­tural spaces
    • Trans­gen­der and inter­sex identities
    • Embod­i­ments and dis/​abilities
    • Hybrid­ity, mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism, and transnationalism
    • The fig­ure of the trickster
    • Aspects of inter­sec­tion­al­ity, trans­gres­sion, and normativity
    • Old age as a lim­i­nal stage
    • Lim­i­nal­ity and the end of life


    • Ste­fan Brandt
    • Susanne Ham­scha
    • Ulla Kriebernegg
    • Simon Daniel Whybrew
    starting: ending: 04.06.2016 Location: , Category:


    Conference START 04.06.2016 END

    All deadlines have expired!

    This conference has no more open deadlines. There may be successive conferences coming up you may by interested in.

    Please check our conference list and search...

    Conference Facts

    Location , Category Organiser More Info Conference Website

    Further interesting Conferences

    Currently we have no similar events listed. Please check our website regulary, subscribe to our RSS-Feed or follow us on twitter for new listings.