Call for Conference Proposals

Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies

Canada: Place, Space and the Politics of Identity
A Graduate Student Conference
April 4, 2014

Conference organizer: Mario D’Agostino, PhD candidate, English Department, York University influence do place and space have on the development or maintenance of Canadian identity?

The Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies invites proposals for a conference to be held at York University on Friday, April 4, 2014.

The conference theme focuses on the Dynamics of place and space as they relate to Canadian Studies. Place/Space relationships reflect the multi-faceted identities and cultural richness of Canada.

Group of 7 LandscapeIf earlier portrayals of the land focused on a rugged, unspoiled landscape, such as in the paintings of the Group of Seven, contemporary notions of identity, belonging and citizenship, are established, contested and legitimized within sites and institutions of public culture, heritage and representation that reflect integration with the land, ultimately transforming the idea of a Canadian mosaic.

In Canada, where place and space have long been contested ground, the discussion of natural landscapes, localized communities, and immigrant/native bodies are not purely internal; rather, they also exist beyond national boundaries to include global and transnational influences. Through this conference, we hope to study the dynamics, relations, and tensions between local, national and global understandings of place and Canadian identity formation.

While we are interested in the following questions, we invite other interpretations of the conference theme:

    • What role do the arts play in the construction/maintenance of Canadian identity? That is, how do musical, textual, literary, and artistic artifacts by Canadians contest an overarching narrative of what it means to be Canadian?
    • How do racial/gendered/queer/othered spaces figure into the idea of a Canadian identity?

Other possible variations on the conference theme include:

  • Competing Narratives and Symbols of Place and Space
  • Real and Imagined Cultural Geographies
  • Spaces of Memory and Testimony
  • History, Geography, Heritage, Representation and the Canadian landscape
  • Public Spaces as Sites of Difference and Diversity
  • Representing or Re-presenting “Home”
  • Particularity of Place: the Everyday in Cultural Production

We invite proposals (both individual or panel submission) from graduate students that address the conference theme from those engaged in the study of Canada from multiple disciplines in the Humanities (arts and media, history, geography, literature) and perspectives (urban or rural; local or global; indigenous, immigrant, or diasporic; virtual or embodied).

While we are unable to provide any funding for travel, the conference is free to attend and present. Selected presentations will be published in E-Topia, an online platform that publishes edited collections of conference presentations in the area of cultural studies.

Deadline for submission: January 15, 2014

Please send proposals and inquiries to


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