Niagara Falls, NY
Considering recent literary and critical trends in Canada, this panel aims to provide a space for scholarship on the evolving role of feminist and queer writing in relation to contemporary political and social issues. In a Canadian context where decades of political gains by queer and feminist activists have been accompanied by constant backlash from various conservative political groups, it seems increasingly pressing to emphasize intersections between queer and feminist modes of thinking about identity, sex, sexuality, and binary understandings of gender. From the formative intersectional work of the periodical Tessera and Sto:lo writer Lee Maracle’s ground-breaking I am Woman, to the contemporary Nishnaabeg perspectives on Indigenous queerness of Leanne Betasamosake Simpson and Cree writer Billy Ray Belcourt’s poetic work on queer and Indigenous bodies, questions of futurity, agency, aesthetics, and solidarity have animated a wide range of queer and feminist writing within and across cultural and national borders in North America. This panel encourages reflections on how queer thinking informs the work of feminist writers, and, conversely, how feminism informs queer epistemologies. We are especially interested in examining how feminist and queer writers position themselves in relation to their predecessors and contemporaries through interdisciplinary, intersectional, and intertextual approaches. For instance, we aim to trace how previously silenced writers exert resilience through their resistance to erasure despite ongoing and persistent threats to their sexual and political agency.
This panel welcomes scholars working on such questions as: How can the works of feminist or queer writers navigate backlash and the rolling back of acquired rights? What solidarities exist across different literary and critical movements within Canada? What specificities exist in feminist and/or queer approaches to textuality, spatiality, temporality, and affect? How do these approaches relate to issues of colonialism, nationalism, bodily autonomy, and gendered and racialized violence in Canada?