“Geographies of the Fantastic and the Quotidian” Canadian Literature and Authors

Shawna Guenther Announcement
California, United States
Subject Fields
Canadian History / Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Indigenous Studies, Literature

The broad, varied, and often harsh landscapes of Canada intersect with all aspects of Canadian life -- from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific and from the North Pole to the US border. Canada has seascapes, mountain ranges, prairies, lakelands, boreal forests, and permafrost territories. Further, Canadian landscapes, since well before confederation, have been separated by language, culture, class, race, and temporal barriers (consider that Canada covers five and a half time zones). Canada’s reputation as a supposedly good, kind, and welcoming place -- as in the fictionalized PEI in Anne of Green Gables --  is betrayed by colonial invasion, racial persecution, language laws, and class divisions that are linked to specific landscapes, places, and spaces. With the underlying historical atrocities in Canada are the hidden spaces -- literally underground -- in the submarine exploitation of oil companies, the illegal alcohol activities of Al Capone, the failed underground railroad, and, most recently, the haunted graves of indigenous students of residential schools. These are merely a few of the fantastic, quotidian, horrifying, peaceful, and underrepresented geographies of a diverse nation.


This panel seeks to analyze representations of Canadian geographies in literary texts about and by Canadians, and, indeed, from external perspectives, to expose the diversity of the country -- provinces and territories -- and elucidate the association of peoples with their geographic experiences in Canada. Indeed, the undiscovered landscapes of Canadian literary geographies might show what Canada is, was, or could be and how established and new Canadians experience Canada’s vast and variable -- and often harsh -- landscapes.


In addition to those listed above, topics include, but are not limited to: 

  • Dystopian/utopian geographies
  • Canadian cities and their sister cities
  • Pre-Colonial, colonial, and post-colonial geographies
  • Haunted/haunting landscapes
  • Natural/unnatural geographies
  • Microgeographies/large-scale geographies 
  • Gendered geographies
  • Fresh/frozen geographies
  • Lived(living)/dead spaces
  • Liminal spaces
  • Real/surreal/hyperreal/imaginative geographies
  • Canadian body/bodies as geographical sites
  • Museums, archives, and archeological geographies
  • Travel narratives: roaming Canada, driving, walking, flying, zooming, imagining
  • Native spaces/lack of spaces
  • Displacements (eg. Japanese internment in BC)
  • Paroxysmal places and quiet passages
  • Division of places in policing: RCMP/provincial police/regional police/CSIS/sheriffs/military
  • Golden age of Hollywood/film/theatre and Canadian sites of filming
  • Migration of Canadian actors/musicians to Hollywood/ New York City


Please submit proposals (max. 300 words) and a brief biography (max. 100 words) for 20 minute papers to PAMLA’s online submission system  https://pamla.ballastacademic.com/  (login or create an account first)  by May 15, 2022. Conference Nov. 11-13, Los Angeles

Contact Information

Shawna Guenther (Doctoral Candidate) Department of English, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

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