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SEMINARS


Seminar New Zones of Tension: Conflict in Contemporary Québécois and Canadian Literatures

 

Under the supervision of Nellie Hogikyan (Post-Doctoral Fellow, CELAT, UQAM) in collaboration with Simon Harel (Études littéraires / Literary Studies and CELAT, UQAM)

 

Calendar

 

The sessions took place every second Friday between 9:30 and 12:00, from 15 February to 28 March 2008, in room DC-2300, CELAT, UQAM (279 Ste-Catherine St. E, 2nd Floor).

 

15 February: Catherine Mavrikakis (Université de Montréal)

« Infanticides et matricides ou comment régler les conflits de génération » (“Infanticide and Matricide, or How to Resolve Generational Conflicts”).

 

29 February: David Leahy (Concordia University)

“The ‘Embourgeoisement’ of Québec Society, the National Question & the ‘accommodements raisonnables’ Controversy.”

 

14 March: Amaryll Chanady (Université de Montréal)

« Pratiques d’espaces minoritaires : entre conflits territoriaux et trajectoires d’expulsion » (“How Minority Spaces Are Narrated: Between Territorial Conflicts and Paths to Expulsion”).

 

28 March: Bina Toledo-Freiwald (Concordia University)

“ ‘Qui est nous?’: Self-Narration and the Imperative of Be/longing.”

 

 

This activity was made possible through a research grant by the FQRSC (Fonds québécois de recherche sur la société et la culture) in collaboration with CELAT, UQAM.

 

 

Abstracts

 

1. Catherine Mavrikakis (Université de Montréal)
« Infanticides et matricides ou comment régler les conflits de génération » (“Infanticide and Matricide, or How to Resolve Generational Conflicts”).

 

In her presentation Catherine Mavrikakis discussed how matricide and infanticide are used as an imaginary solution in generational conflicts. She explored the question of the imagination of Québécois youth since the 1980s in order to show how this new generation experiences conflict based on filiation. Mavrikakis focused her discussion on Anne Claire Poirier’s film Tu as crié LET ME GO (1996).

 

2. David Leahy (Concordia University)
”The ‘Embourgeoisement’ of Québec Society, the National Question & the ‘accommodements raisonnables’ Controversy.”

 

Drawing upon a variety of analytical and literary texts by Hubert Aquin, Pierre Vallières, Paul Chamberland, Jacques Pelletier, Gérard Bouchard, Mathieu Bock-Côté, and others, this presentation aimed to historicize and theorize current anxieties about Québec’s ontological “borders,” and the perceived threat that has erupted into the likes of the “accommodements raisonnables” debate. David Leahy examined the dialectical complexity of said discourses, but especially their relationships to the “embourgeoisement” of Québec culture and the National Question – as Pierre Vallières and Paul Chamberland predicted and troubled decades ago.

 

3. Amaryll Chanady (Université de Montréal)
« Pratiques d’espaces minoritaires : entre conflits territoriaux et trajectoires d’expulsion » (“How Minority Spaces Are Narrated: Between Territorial Conflicts and Paths to Expulsion”).

 

Immigrant literature often describes the space of protagonists as dysphoric. This literature goes beyond the mere symbolisation of the social construction of space by expressing, explicitly, the ways in which the characters move around, inside and outside the city, and the ways in which they experience conflict in common space. Unlike most young idlers, strollers who are from minority groups are depicted as complex figures whose movements have little in common with the leisurely strolls of the privileged observer of urban life. The non-lieux (non-places) referred to by Marc Augé reflect here silent tensions and rejections among the different groups who move around the city. Amaryll Chanady analyzed the representation of movement in several Québécois and Canadian short stories, namely by Émile Ollivier and Austin Clarke.

 

4. Bina Toledo-Freiwald (Concordia University)
“ ‘Qui est nous?’ : Self-Narration and the Imperative of Be/longing.”

 

This presentation drew on three particular examples in order to engage broader issues relating to the construction of subjectivity (through acts of self-narration) as interpellated by discourses of collective identification and motivated by the imperative to be/long (the longing to belong so that one may be).

The three examples were:

 

1) the Governor General's Youth Forum on Community, broadcast live on CBC Television on 16 February 2002, and involving the participation of over a hundred young people from across Canada who were invited to participate in this forum organized and hosted by the Governor General at the time, Adrienne Clarkson, and her husband John Ralston Saul, himself a prominent theorizer of Canadian identity;

 

2) a documentary in French from Québec entitled Qui est nous?, which first aired on Telé-Québec on 21 February 2002, barely a week after the Governor General’s forum. In Qui est nous?, filmmaker François Parenteau, an avowed sovereignist, interviewed eleven Quebecers he identified as having come from elsewhere, that is, who are not considered ‘de souche.’

 

3) Dionne Brand’s A Map to the Door of No Return: Notes on Belonging (2001), a hybrid book – “part memoir, part travelogue, part history, and part philosophy” (Methot) – in which Brand reflected on her place in Canada from her vantage point as a descendant of slaves taken from the slave-forts of Africa - the doors of no return - and relocated to the Caribbean. According to Bina Toledo-Freiwald, in all three examples, the questioning of belonging arises directly out of the reality of the diverse population within the geopolitical entities that are Canada and Québec, and the challenges such diversity poses for both personal and collective identity-narratives. Ultimately, the researcher was interested in the ways in which all three, directly or indirectly, speak to the question Brand asks explicitly: “[a] nation predicated on what?” (DNR 68), in other words: in whose image the community of communities?