The ICCS is pleased to announce that its next conference will be held in Ottawa May 27-29, 2008, again in collaboration with the Universities of Ottawa and Carleton. Proposals for 20 minute papers, to be presented in either English of French, are invited from any single disciplinary or multidisciplinary perspective on the theme of Canada Exposed / Le Canada à découvert.
The metaphors implicit in this dual title are manifold and challenging. The idea of exposure perhaps suggests first of all revelation, disclosure, unmasking. But it can also suggest being unprotected or vulnerable, as in exposed to the elements or to danger. And then there are the photographic and filmic connotations. The French ‘à découvert’ reinforces the notion of uncovering (as in ‘la marée laisse les rochers à découvert’), and of being ‘out in the open’. But it also carries financial connotations, of being overdrawn or unsecured.
What the conference will then firstly – and somewhat provocatively – seek to explore is the ‘underbelly’ of Canada past and present: its scandals, failures, shortcomings, weak spots, blind spots. To what extent have these been swept under the carpet? To what extent have they been confronted? How have Canadians (pressure groups, literary figures, political cartoonists et al) responded to the malignant, the unsatisfactory, the indecent? And what does this tell us about Canadian society, past, present and future? However, the idea of revealing Canada does not necessarily have to be negative and there is scope, for example, for discussion of aspects of Canada that are simply forgotten, little known, or rarely brought into the open. And it is hoped that the notion of vulnerability will prompt analysis, particularly perhaps in terms of the environment or of social cohesion.
Finally, by virtue of its photographic and filmic connotations, the conference theme also has a strong visual arts dimension, and will welcome papers on how the brush, the lens, the chisel have exposed Canada to its people and to the world.
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