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

    Organisers

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

    Timeline

    Conference START 04.06.2016 END

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