CFP for Untold Stories of the Past 150 Years

Posted by | October 11, 2016 | Uncategorized


Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation offers a pivotal moment not only to re-evaluate the dominant narratives that helped to shape Canadian national identity, but also to consider those narratives that, until recently, have been suppressed or held considerably less attention in public forums and debates. Many of the nation’s dominant stories and foundational myths offer a particular vantage point about the country’s origins and development, which diminish or altogether marginalize other narratives–even as the latter have been equally crucial to how Canada has come to assume its current shape, politically, sociologically, and otherwise. This conference offers an interdisciplinary forum for the exploration of these untold stories, to nuance and complicate the record. It will give space for the further consideration of narratives that have only begun to attract national attention in the past couple of decades and that have yet to receive critical attention. The objective of this conference is therefore to consider what stories about Canadian history and national identity remain untold or only partially told–and to consider why?

There are some surviving narratives, for example, about the arrival of the Irish at Grosse Isle in the mid-nineteenth century (see, as one instance, the work of Susanna Moodie), but what other lesser known storiesexist? Few are also familiar with how members of the Mi’kmaq Warriors Society have been arrested and incarcerated for their struggle against fracking, their ongoing assertion and exercise of nationhood, and the repression they have endured from police and courts. This conference will draw on stories such as these. 

Untold stories may encompass (and extend beyond) Irish emigration to Canada and related nation-building narratives; the rise of Indigenous communities that have demanded greater accountability in socio-political interactions and the historical record; shifting gender politics that have showcased how public, socio-political, and legal arenas must address persistent inequities; women who need to be celebrated for their contributions to Canadian history, culture, or policy; missing and murdered Indigenous women; national policies that have a bearing on identity politics; the resurgence of environmental concerns that are often bypassed or repressed in favour of economic pursuits; socio-economic and class-based disparities; narratives about those by or about refugees and their descendants; histories of African-Canadians, including but not limited to stories of settlement after the Underground Railroad; narratives of diasporic formations in Canada; Japanese-Canadians, Italian-Canadian, German-Canadian and other immigrants’ experiences of internment during Second World War; changes in government labour policy; competing regional and national identities; and the realities of multiculturalism in Canada and the history of immigration policy, in spite of the popular rhetoric that may otherwise seem to suggest the nation offers an ideal of tolerance towards differing races and ethnicities. 

Abstracts for papers about such untold stories should be approximately 300 words in length and sent with 50-word biographical statements to the current Craig Dobbin Chair of Canadian Studies, Dr. Linda Morra (linda.morra@ucd.ie), and the Director of Canadian Studies, Dr. Paul Halferty (paul.halferty@ucd.ie), by November 1, 2016, for a conference to be held through UCD, Ireland, on April 28-29, 2017. Potential conference presenters will be notified of their acceptance by mid-December, 2016.

Dr. J. Paul Halferty

Assistant Professor, Drama Studies

School of English, Drama and Film

C201 Newman Building

University College Dublin

Belfield, Dublin 4

+353 (0)1 716 8373

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