Canadian Literature Today (Enrichment Lecture: 14)

Canadian Literature Today: Literary Solidarity & Critical Diversities.

The Department organised the fourteenth virtual enrichment lecture on 12th February, 2021. Prof. Smaro Kamboureli was invited to speak on the topic "Canadian Literature Today: Literary Solidarity & Critical Diversities."

The speaker explored the emergence of Canadian Literature in context of Canadian identity, interdisciplinary methodologies and Literary Solidarities. Referencing to Northrop Frye's famous essay, she emphasized "Where is here?" as central to Canadian identity and literature. She discussed how CanLit has evolved from little presence even in Canadian universities to an interdisciplinary study. She also suggeted some books revolving around and beyond literary criticism, such as Margaret Atwood's Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature, and Richard Cavell's Love, Hate, and Fear in Canada's Cold War.

The speaker further highlighted Multiculturalism as significant in shaping Canadian Literature, and identified the Canadian nation-state as settler culture, including colonial descent, ethnicity as well as diaspora. While speaking about new possibilities in this field, Prof. Kamboureli talked about ways to establish "relationality" between settlers and diasporic subjects. One of the ways to approach it was elaborated by the speaker as Solidarity, which has "recognition" and "respect" as its foundation. She referred to Wayde Compton's "The Lost Island" to examine the representation of entangled identities of indigenous and diasporic lives. Finally, Prof. Kamboureli commented on the "Aporia of Solidarity" as the political differences and other discords that might operate within a collective. Despite the downsides, the speaker expressed the need to accept literary solidarity as a way forward.

The Talk was followed by some questions from the students and faculty, opening further discussions on the clash of identity, the nature and role of orality, as well as the diversity of contemporary Canadian Literature. The lecture, thus, turned out to be truly enriching.