Canadian Literature and Culture (Panel / In-Person)

Special Session
Languages and Linguistics / French and Francophone

Erin Edgington (University of Nevada - Reno)
eedg@****.com (Log-in to reveal)

This session explores Canadian Literature and Culture broadly defined. Canadian literary and cultural contexts are richly generative, with links to numerous modern languages subfields including but not limited to Anglophone and Francophone literatures and cultures, the environmental humanities, North American studies, and Indigenous studies. Canada is also a site of ongoing transcultural and transnational contact that transpires in its literatures and cultures. Papers in English and/or French. Contributions that engage with other Canadian languages, literatures, and cultures are equally welcome.

Despite its prominence on the international stage and its proximity to the United States, Canada’s varied literary and cultural production is too often absent from – or minimized within – modern languages research and teaching in the U.S. Beyond the American context, too, Canada is frequently lumped in with the Commonwealth or la francophonie and, in this way, is subject to persistent cultural annexation. During his first official visit to Canada, President Biden remarked that “Americans and Canadians are two people, two countries […] sharing one heart. […] No two nations on Earth are bound by such close ties — friendship, family, commerce, and culture.”[1] This remark – anodyne, of course – is an example of the sort of “friendly” erasure of Canada’s own culture that is often the result of the country’s positionality within several overlapping cultural spheres. The president continued by presenting the two countries’ several intertwined professional sports leagues as evidence of the close cultural ties he wished to evoke, and the example is apt. The free circulation of athletes across the borders of these two countries echoes many other instances in which cultural productions circulate freely, sometimes imperceptibly between them: Anne of Green Gables, Tim Hortons, and Céline Dion come to mind among many, many other examples. Canada’s numerous points of historical and contemporary literary, linguistic, and cultural contact with the U.S., North America, Europe, and the wider world have all factored into the development of its unique literatures and cultures.

This session will feature papers that explore aspects of modern and contemporary Canadian literatures, languages, and cultures including but not limited to literature of any genre in English, French, and/or Indigenous languages; multimedia texts (film, television, music, radio); linguistic analyses of any of Canada’s languages and varieties (sociolinguistics, language revitalization); and incidences of contact between Canadian literatures, languages, and cultures both within and outside Canada. Resistant to stereotypes of Canada and Canadians as “our friendly neighbor(s) to the North” as well as the false notion of Canada as a monolith, the session seeks to offer a nuanced vision of Canadian literatures and cultures. Submissions that engage with the 2023 PAMLA Conference Theme, “Shifting Perspectives,” are particularly welcome.

[1] Remarks by President Biden in Address to the Canadian Parliament, March 24, 2023,