International Contemporary Women’s Writing Association Conference
Locations and Dislocations: Places and Spaces in Contemporary Women’s Writing
This International Contemporary Women’s Writing Association Conference will examine how contemporary women writers have engaged with places and spaces in all the complexities suggested by Algoma University’s location. The conference will explore women writers from the 1960s to the present day. The academic papers will raise a wide range of critical questions. How should we treat historical sites of violence? Can they be reclaimed and what is the role of writing in that process of reclamation? What kinds of spaces are depicted as “sacred” by contemporary women writers? How do particular landscapes play a role in constructing national myths and identities? What does it mean to have an Indigenous connection to land and place? In what ways have contemporary women writers depicted borders? How are contemporary women writers writing the city? What contribution has contemporary women’s writing made to our cultural and political debates about how to interact with natural spaces? How do contemporary women writers depict domestic spaces?
The 2019 Contemporary Women’s Writing Association International Conference theme is inspired by its location at Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie, Northern Ontario, Canada. Algoma University occupies the historical site of the former Shingwauk Residential School to which displaced Anishinaabe children were sent to receive a colonial “education.” Survivors of the Shingwauk Residential School formed the Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association and have helped guide the development of education here, launching the first major, permanent, residential school Survivor-driven exhibition in a former residential school building in 2018. Algoma University sits alongside Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig (an Anishinaabek institution for university studies) on this sacred site set aside for the fulfillment of Chief Shingwauk’s vision of respectful inter-cultural education. Surrounded by iconic Canadian maple bush in the heart of the Great Lakes, Anishinaabe people refer to this region as “Bawating”—“the place of the rapids”—and it has a long history as a meeting and trading place. As a declining steel town, Sault Ste. Marie raises crucial questions about the future of post-industrial cities. The city has staged the often fraught encounter between economic development based on extractive and heavy industries and the preservation of areas of outstanding natural beauty. Sault Ste. Marie is also a border city twinned with Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, U.S.
Join us to explore this important theme in this beautiful place! Email [email protected] with any questions you may have.