ASLE-Canada Newsletter
Issue 2: Spring 2006


“Northrop Frye: New Directions from Old”

(08/31/06; 05/07)

We invite proposals on Northrop Frye and theory (2007 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Anatomy and Criticism), Frye as Canadian, social, or religious critic.

Please send a 300-500 word proposal (hardcopies in triplicate) and a 50-word bio blurb to:

Doctor David Rampton, Symposium Chair
Department of English, University of Ottawa
70 Laurier Avenue East, 3rd floor
Ottawa ON K1N 6N5 Canada
Fax: (613) 562-5990

“Adaptation(s): Transfers and Society”

November 15-17, 2006

Montreal, Canada

A bilingual international conference organized by Michael Eberle-Sinatra, Danielle Aubry, Celine Lafontaine et Gilles Visy with the help of Centre de recherche sur l'intermedialite, l'Universite de Montreal et L'Universite de Quebec a Montreal

Keynote Speakers:

  • Prof. George Elliott Clarke (University of Toronto), E.J. Pratt Professor of Canadian Literature, recipient of numerous awards, including the Governor General Award for Poetry, and author of many publications, including poetry, verse plays, an opera, a novel, and academic publications including Treason of the Black Intellectuals? and Odysseys Home: Mapping African-Canadian Literature.
  • Prof. Alain Gras (Sorbonne, Paris 1), directeur du Centre d'Etude des techniques, des connaissances et des pratiques et auteur, entre autres, de La fragilite de la puissance. Se liberer de l'emprise technologique.

Adaptation stands for the labor-saving adjustment of an object to the shape of a new social and cultural setting. Adaptation stands for scale, projection, transfer process, and thus begs the question of the unchangeable and the new, of agreement and distortion -- in sum, of difference: difference in discourse, as well as in aesthetic and artistic shape, material and technique. This concept acts as a frame that allows us to consider the processes of exchange and transfer which animate our contemporary world, while it also serves as a model for the production of cultural and media practices, as well as one which encourages standardization. This notion permeates the humanities as well as social sciences but, surprisingly, few attempts have been made so far to compare the varying definitions of adaptation across the disciplines of the social sciences, humanities, fine arts and literature. Yet these comparisons would shed a welcome light on the different reference and value systems which shape studies of adaptation.

This conference aims:

  1. to look at adaptation as both a practice in the field of cultural production, as well as a concept that is defined, programmed, proposed and, sometimes, imposed;
  2. to revisit the theme of adaptation in order to track the theoretical changes from the early studies on intertextuality, and particularly all the studies done in the structuralist, linguistic, and semiotic fields from 1970 to 1990, to the concept of adaptation as "ubiquitous and central to the human imagination" put forward by Linda Hutcheon;
  3. to confront the different theoretical models of adaptation, understood as an intermedia process, or as a new set of rules for intermedia space.

We hope that this conference will fruitfully contribute to the ongoing debate on adaptation, and will foster a better understanding of one of the key concepts of the last two centuries cultural production. This concept will also constantly evolve thanks to the broadening of the notion of art and the relationships and transfers which in turn result from it; in fact, adaptation is already engaged with multiple systems simultaneously. In order to facilitate the consideration of various aspects of the question, and to foster fruitful exchange, we have identified three research themes, each one encompassing a number of sub-topics (obviously, these are not intended as being restrictive):

I. Sociology and adaptation

  • From biology to social science: a critique of the Darwinian model
  • The myth of economic adaptation
  • Frames, codes, and programs of adaptation for social institutions
  • Violence of adaptation/ refusal of adaptation
  • Controlling adaptation: migration and society
  • Cyborg, posthuman, and transhuman: new faces of adaptation?

II. Adaptation as creation

  • · Fiction and adaptation: travelling across novel, film, theatre, and comics
  • Are new media a special case?
  • "Seriality": vectors of formal and technical hybridity
  • Intertextuality as a forerunner of an intermedia reading of cult series
  • Opera adaptations

III. The anthropology of adaptation

  • Normative adaptation: psychology and clinical psychiatry
  • Selective adaptation: the new shapes of exclusion and inclusion
  • Adapting sexuality
  • Adaptation and technique
  • Nature/culture: frontiers of adaptation
  • Darwinian theories of adaptation and science fiction

Please send your 500-word proposal and 1-page CV before April 17, 2006, to

Ontario Ecology and Ethology Colloquium
Brock University, St. Catharines
5th, 6th and 7th of May 2006

Grad students, undergraduates, faculty and post-docs from Ontario and beyond have gathered each spring for the past three and a half decades for the Ontario Ecology and Ethology Colloquium (OEEC). This annual conference is a forum for researchers to present their work in a constructive and friendly atmosphere, and for interaction between students and established researchers. It is therefore a great venue for presenters to share their findings, as well as an excellent setting for faculty to recruit promising new students. Although originally conceived as a venue to present research in ecology and behaviour, OEEC has since broadened to include such diverse topics as evolution, genetics, psychology, conservation and environmental science.


Abstract Submission deadline extended to April 21st.

Accomodation Regsitration deadline April 21st.

This year, OEEC will be held on the 5th, 6th and 7th of May 2006 at Brock University in St. Catharines. We look forward to your participation. Join us in Niagara this spring.

This year’s plenary speakers are: Barbara Rosemary Grant, Ellie Prepas, Lynda Corkum, Marie-Josee Fortin

See for more information.

"Beyond Ground Zero: 9/11 and the Futures of Critical Thought”

Saturday, October 21, 2006

McMaster University
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

In the wake of the September 11 attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center in 2001, and amid sweeping patriotic declarations that the suicide hijackers had waged a war on America as well as democracy, the energetic response by public intellectuals, academics, philosophers, and theorists has been to ask: what “America?” what “democracy?” what “war?” “for” and “against” whom? Today, in view of the unfolding catastrophe in Iraq, the growing presence of the Canadian military in Afghanistan, and the heightened anxieties over “state security,” what does it mean? what could it mean? to conjure the specter(s) of “9/11?” In what ways does this event haunt the present day, not only as a moment of traumatic violence, but also as an occasion to change the very nature of how we think about events? As Jacques Derrida has argued, 9/11 means calling “into question, at their most fundamental level, the most deep-seated conceptual presuppositions in philosophical discourse” (Derrida 100).

What quickens this one-day conference is a need not only to (re)visit and unsettle current discourses on “9/11,” but also to engage the ethical, cultural, (geo)political, and pedagogical repercussions of the attacks in their immediate and long-term aftermaths. How has 9/11 complicated the relationship between (media) spectacle and terror? What are the new challenges and pedagogical implications of 9/11 and its myriad representations in the collective work of mourning and public remembrance? How are theories of alterity at once problematized and made even more vital by the racialized divides that the attacks (re)inforced or (re)configured? How are the concepts of “democracy,” “justice,” “freedom,” “multiculturalism,” “tolerance,” and “diversity” put in the service of “empire” post-9/11? In what ways does the willful forgetfulness of past cultural traumas enable the public mourning of only those who died in the attacks? How is 9/11 reshaping our shared concept of “humanity” and of what constitutes the “human?” The conference will be animated by the conviction that critical thought and informed debate--far from being the morally equivocal “weak link”--are, today, never more urgently needed modes of intervention in the current and ongoing “War on Terror.”

To reflect the breadth and vitality of current critical work in the discourses on 9/11, we invite submissions and participants from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives, including critical theory, cultural studies, postcolonial and critical race theory, literary studies, multimedia, peace studies, philosophy, critical pedagogy, queer theory, and gender studies. Possible subjects of conference submissions may include, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • (re)configuring the post-9/11 "human"
  • specters of "empire" and the spectacle of terrorism
  • teaching (after) 9/11: the Humanities and critical pedagogy
  • spectacle, memory, and the work of (selective) mourning
  • ethics, rights, and doing justice to/after 9/11
  • race, gender, and the "alterities" of terror
  • trauma, temporality, event: representation and the conceptual limits of "9/11"
  • 9/11 aesthetics/the aestheticization of 9/11
  • the politics of (bio)power after 9/11

Plenary Speakers:

Dr. Marc Redfield is Professor of English and the John D. and Lillian Maguire Distinguished Chair in the Humanities at Claremont Graduate University. His fields of specialization include Romanticism, the nineteenth-century novel, aesthetics, literary theory, and comparative literature. His celebrated recent work focuses on the genealogy of the concept of “terror,” and on the ways in which “terror” has a complex history in political and philosophical discourse that inflects its use and abuse in the present day.

Dr. Roger I. Simon is a Professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education cross appointed to the Department of Sociology and Equity Studies and the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning. Simon is the Faculty Director of the Centre for Media and Culture in Education and Director of the Testimony and Historical Memory Project at OISE/UT. His most recent research has addressed questions of the pedagogical and ethical dimensions of practices of cultural memory in the context of our age of spectacle.

Sponsored by McMaster University's Department of English & Cultural Studies and made possible by the generous donations of the John Douglas Taylor family.

Please submit 500-word abstracts via e-mail to Karen Espiritu or Don Moore at: by Friday, June 2, 2006. For more information, please visit our website:

The Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies (ACLALS) 14th Triennial Conference
“Literature for Our Times”

August 2007, Vancouver
British Columbia, Canada

At the 2005 World Social Forum, held in Porto Allegre, Brazil, Booker Prize-winning author Arundhati Roy spoke about the function of literature for our times: "Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it... With our art, our music, our literature, and our ability to tell our own stories." In an article, "The Arduous Conversation Will Continue," published in The Guardian on July 19, 2005, Hanif Kureishi voiced a similar opinion: "the only patriotism possible is one that refuses the banality of taking either side, and continues the arduous conversation. That is why we have literature, the theatre, newspapers--a culture, in other words."

Are there other roles, besides the ones suggested by Kureishi and Roy, that literature has played in the era of colonialism and continues to fulfill now in this young Twenty-First century of ours, amidst the upheavals of regime changes, wars for resources, loss of faith in elected representatives, genocide, suicide bombings, resistance struggles and environmental disasters? Is literature a force for reconciliation and cross-cultural understanding or only an instrument for aesthetic pleasure of the privileged? Does literature provide us, in the famous phrase of Kenneth Burke, with "equipment for living," or does it only obscure reality and deflect resistance?

Papers are invited to engage with all aspects of the above theme. They could address, by referring to the literary, critical and other kinds of cultural texts, the following questions:

  • Literature as an institution and ideologies of 'literature'
  • Commonwealth versus Postcolonial versus World literature
  • Literature as resistance
  • Literature as "arduous dialogue"
  • Literature as "equipment for living"
  • Literature as pedagogy; Pedagogy of literature
  • Literature of human survival (including issues of poverty and prosperity)
  • Literature of human rights (including the right to access knowledge and resources)
  • Literature of Apocalyptic and Utopic imaginings
  • Literature for promotion of Peace and Justice
  • Literature of real and imagined Ethnicities
    Literature of cultural affiliation (Race, Gender and/or History)
  • Literature as a world language
  • Literature in a global cultural economy
  • Literature of healing and reconciliation
  • Literature in translation

    Abstracts of approx. 300 words for papers of 20 minutes duration, and approx. 400 words for three-paper panels (with names of the panelists) which engage with these and other relevant questions should be e-mailed, with a short bio-note (50 words) and contact address to no later than August 30, 2006.

Address for regular mail:
Dr. Paul Matthew St. Pierre
ACLALS Secretary-Treasurer
Department of English
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, BC
Canada V5A 1S6