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Call for Papers — (Re)Reading Race and Colonialism in the Québec and Franco-Canadian Literary Canons


Studies in Canadian Literature — Special Issue

(Re)Reading Race and Colonialism in the Québec and Franco-Canadian Literary Canons

Edited by Zishad Lak (Lakehead University/University of Ottawa) & Pierre-Luc Landry (University of Victoria)

Call for Papers

Studies in Canadian Literature / Études en littérature canadienne (SCL/ÉLC) invites interdisciplinary contributions to a special issue on Québécois and Franco-Canadian Literature.

This special issue invites reflections on race, racialization, and different forms of colonialism in Québec and Franco-Canadian literary and cultural canons. Whereas national identity, as an analytical frame and within a white grammar of the nation, has been overemphasized in literary criticism in Québécois and Franco-Canadian spaces, the interwoven forms of colonialisms—conquest, settler colonialism, slavery, the constitution and fabrication of Westernness (Larochelle 2021), etc.—mark this identity formation and its reflection or concealment in cultural productions. For example, in her 1976 essay, Je suis une maudite sauvagesse, Innu writer and activist An Antane Kapesh writes that upon hearing the settler account of the discovery of iron in Northern Québec, her father interrupts and unsettles the myth with first a laughter, then a different account of that history. An account that Kapesh then narrates to her readers, thus revealing its concealment by the dominant, ethnonational discourse of québécitude.

The unsettled absence in the settler history, as revealed by Kapesh’s essay, is partially attributed to the concealment of the material history of the Americas, and partially imported through the unsettled myths of Europe (Saïd 1978), which have contributed to the construction of a settled identity here in Québec and in North America. Rereading, as a critical cultural praxis, could thus be attending to and counting on the excess of the narrative to “unhobble the imagination” (Morrison 1992). For this special issue, we are seeking contributions attentive to the ways in which race and colonialism figure and persist in public and political discourse, notably in canonical cultural productions in Québec and in Franco-Canadian spaces; we welcome reflections on the reception of canons by the dominant and marginalized publics, as well as aesthetic modes that inform different models of reading, interrogate subjectivities, decentre the gaze, and dislodge representations of characters and geographies from their normalized understanding. Questions we want to ask include, but are not limited to:

· What theoretical horizons could be opened and what constellations could be formed through (re)reading the entanglement of race and different forms of colonialism in Québec’s cultural canon?

· How have BIPOC writers and literary critics engaged/disengaged with or contributed to the canon, and what use, if any, have they made of canonical works?

· What new spaces can (re)reading race and colonialisms into the canon open to change the terms of the conversation?

· What can critical reflections on (re)reading reveal about the imbrications of racial and colonial exclusions in the Québécois or Franco-Canadian contexts?

· What new methodologies can (re)reading propose?

· Is it necessary to (re)read the national literary canon? Why? Is (re)reading canonical works simply another excuse to read white literature?

· What are the conditions of production of the canon?

· In what ways might critical race-informed (re)reading shift our understanding of canonical texts that are not explicitly about race?

Speculative (re)readings and research-creation works are welcome.

We accept proposals of maximum 250 words in French and in English. Please send your proposals by December 1st, 2023 to Zishad Lak ( and Pierre-Luc Landry (, including a title, abstract, and your complete coordinates (full name, email address, institutional affiliation). Papers will be due April 1st, 2024, and should be 6000-8000 words, including Notes and Works Cited. English submissions should conform to the MLA Handbook, 8th edition; French submissions to Le guide du rédacteur (Translation Bureau, 1996).

For further details about submissions, visit or contact guest editors.