Conference

ACSANZ Conference: Constituting Canada: Interdisciplinary approaches to an idea

 

On 13 and 14 July, at the University of Wollongong, New South Wales, ACSANZ held a conference marking 150 years since the inception of the Canadian state. “Constituting Canada: Interdisciplinary approaches to an idea” brought together academics from Australia, Canada, and beyond to discuss Canada’s contested history, contemporary challenges, and future possibilities.

While the British North America Act, 1867, marks the politico-legal origin of modern Canada, the papers presented at the conference illustrated the possibilities of thinking interdisciplinarily about Canadian Studies through its various constitutions. Participants spoke from disciplines including law, politics, history, geography, society, and culture, rethinking key events, texts, and ideas and bringing attention to issues and stories otherwise occluded in the Canada 150 celebrations.

We were also privileged to hold a keynote address by Associate Professor Eric Adams, from the University of Alberta, and a roundtable on Indigenous Reconciliation with talks by Associate Professors Sarah Maddison, University of Melbourne, and Karen Drake, York University.

The Roundtable considered the complexities of Indigenous reconciliation from both Canadian and Australian perspectives.

Professor Maddison spoke on ‘Reconciliation, resistance and refusal in settler colonial states’, arguing that the apparent ‘failure’ of reconciliation in settler colonial states is inherent to the logics of liberal settler colonialism. These logics shape reconciliation as primarily an ideational rather than a structural process, to be pursued through education rather than legal or structural change. In this view, reconciliation is driven by a deep desire to restore moral and political legitimacy to settler institutions by drawing the Indigenous population into the wider polity. This drive has meant that, despite arguably good intentions, reconciliation remains a means of justifying colonial sovereignty and domination, which continues to be resisted by Indigenous peoples. Ultimately, Professor Maddison considered an Indigenous right of refusal as a moment of new political possibility.

In her paper, Professor Drake asked whether the logic of liberalism contributes to reconciliation. Resistance to Indigenous rights in Canada, she notes, is routinely grounded in liberal logic, employed both implicitly and explicitly in colloquial discourse and the jurisprudence on Aboriginal rights. The result is a restrictive, frozen rights conception of Aboriginal rights. The response of some liberals has been to attempt to use the premises of liberalism to justify Aboriginal rights. Rather than this, however, Professor Drake asks whether the Canadian state’s assertion of sovereignty over Indigenous peoples and Indigenous territories is legitimate on liberal grounds. Arguing that it is not, she posits that Aboriginal rights have the potential to correct this illegitimacy, which can be exposed using the logic of liberalism.

The roundtable was followed by a reception hosted by the Canadian High Commission in Canberra.

The following morning, Professor Adams’s keynote, titled “Constitutional Stories: Japanese Canadians and the Constitution of Canada”, argued that constitutions exist in stories. In it, he posited that constitutional stories – whether in formal judgments and statutes, media reports, scholarly writing, or cultural products – shape the fundamental understanding of our legal and political institutions, but also of our legal and political selves. In particular, he explored how the constitutional history of Japanese Canadians – in both its well-known and hidden dimensions –revealed the significance of the constitutional stories we tell, and those we leave buried in archives. In doing so, he suggested that we might see the capacity of constitutional history as integral once again to a full understanding of Canadian constitutional law, culture, and politics.

The organising committee (Robyn Morris, Marie-Eve Loiselle, Margaret Stephenson, and Benjamin Authers) would like to thank all the participants for coming, and for their enthusiasm and intellectual generosity over the course of the conference. We would also like to thank the Canadian High Commission in Canberra and the Centre for Canadian-Australian Studies at the University of Wollongong for their financial support: the High Commissioner, His Excellency Vice Admiral Paul Maddison, and his staff, in particular Mary Lou Hayman, Karen May, Chantelle Wiles, and Robin Mulder, as well as Debra Dudek, Director of the Centre for Canadian-Australian Studies, all helped make the event a success.

Papers from the conference will be published in 2018, as part of a special issue of Australasian Canadian Studies

Constituting Canada: Interdisciplinary Approaches to an Idea

Thursday 13th July – Friday 14th July, 2017

Abstract Booklet:

Download Abstract Booklet .pdf

Conference Program:

Download ACSANZ Conference Program (.pdf) >

Registration:

Registration for 13th-14th July includes lunch, morning and afternoon tea/coffee, a reception following the Roundtable (Thursday 13th July),  as well as a 2-year membership (expiry July, 2019) of the Association for Canadian Studies in Australia and New Zealand and a subscription to the Association's journal, Australasian Canadian Studies.

Existing memberships:
$150 AUD for full-time employment
$85 AUD for students

New memberships:
$185 AUD for full-time employment
$110 AUD for students.

Payment for the Workshop can be made with PayPal, here:

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New memberships:
 

 

Information on Wollongong and UOW

 

Airport Shuttle Connections  DOWNLOAD .docx

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Free Green Gong Shuttle Map – Adina to UOW and return  DOWNLOAD .pdf

Other Free Shuttle Bus Routes  DOWNLOAD .pdf

Wollongong, UOW Local Area Map  DOWNLOAD .pdf

UOW Campus Map  DOWNLOAD .pdf

Accomodations and Restaurants  DOWNLOAD .docx

Walks in Wollongong  DOWNLOAD .pdf

Constituting Canada: Interdisciplinary approaches to an idea

 

A conference hosted by the Association for Canadian Studies in Australia and New Zealand (ACSANZ)

Venue:          University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW, Australia

Date:             Thursday 13th July – Friday 14th July, 2017

Keynote:      Associate Professor Eric Adams, Faculty of Law, University of Alberta

2017 marks 150 years since the inception of the Canadian state with the British North America Act, 1867, and 35 years since 1982’s constitutional patriation, including the enactment of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. While legal acts serve as focal points for the creation (and re-creation) of the Canadian state, the connotations of Canada’s constitutive documents operate across law, politics, history, geography, society, and culture, with consequences for the past, present, and future. To engage with the manifold cultural-legal meanings that constitutions and their anniversaries evoke and contest, the Association for Canadian Studies in Australia and New Zealand (ACSANZ) invites abstracts for papers that address the idea of constitutions and Canada.

The conference will ask how nations, states, and peoples in Canada have been constituted, and investigate the significance of constitutive moments in the Canadian context. Participants are invited to reflect on questions that include, but are not limited by:

  • How do constitutive documents represent, legitimate, or deny Indigenous, multicultural, gendered, and federal histories and claims?
  • How has Canada’s constitutional model and history shaped Canada, and how have these changes resonated internationally?
  • How do the arts constitute Canada and its communities? How are constitutive texts and histories reflected upon in the arts, and how are the arts shaping Canada's legal consciousness?
  • How has the Canadian Constitution addressed its imposition upon pre-contact societies with their own legal and political orders?
  • What does the presence (or absence) of rights language in foundational documents like constitutions mean for their legal and affective power?
  • How do we remember and represent the creation of states and nations, and what does it mean to celebrate such a contested moment in time?
  • What attributes of Canada’s Constitution and its experience that have special resonance for Australia and New Zealand?
  • What possibilities does constitutional change offer for imagining and re-imagining the Canada?

Contributions from across disciplines that deal with all aspects of Canada and Canadian Studies, including from a comparative perspective, are welcomed.

Please email an abstract and brief bio to Dr Robyn Morris (robynm@uow.edu.au) and Dr Benjamin Authers (benjamin.authers@canberra.edu.au) before Dec 1st, 2016. To assist with planning, earlier abstracts are welcomed and will be evaluated when they are submitted.

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Remembrance and Representation: Canada, Australia, and New Zealand in World War I

A workshop hosted by the Association for Canadian Studies in Australia and New Zealand (ACSANZ) with support of the Canadian High Commission and Australian National University.

Venue: Australian National University 
Date: Sunday 7th Dec – Monday 8th Dec

World War I holds a potent place in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, a place that will be the subject of significant discussion and debate in the coming years’ commemorations of the centenary of the War. Each country has significant moments in their national mythologies tied to WWI campaigns, including Gallipoli for Australia and New Zealand and Vimy Ridge for Canada. A moment of maturation, the Great War often also stands as a point at which some in the colonies saw themselves outgrowing Britain, its military failures denoting—perhaps for the first time—a broader sense of the limits of British cultural, moral, and social hegemony.

The commemoration of the centenary of the War and each nation’s involvement in it is also likely to provoke critique and controversy. Its shifting and contested meanings should prompt acts of remembering and memorialisation not only against the backdrop of WWI itself, but also withinthe context of contemporary Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. This anniversary offers the space for a multidisciplinary debate in which to considerwhat WWI means in relation to contemporary military actions and the diverse roles that the three states have in peacebuilding and peacekeeping, as well as in conflict

This workshop seeks papers that explore the complex ways in which New Zealand, Canada, and Australia represent and remember WWI. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  •  WWI: defining nationhood and independence
  • Race, cultural difference, and nation in WWI
  • Writing war
  • Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the Central Powers
  • War and modernism
  • Changing statehoods
  • War, law, and rights
  • WWI and peace
  • Wartime femininities and masculinities
  • Imperial relationships
  • The home front during WWI
  • Memorials in film, fiction, and fact
  • The impact of WWI on today’s foreign and defence policy

Papers will be of 15 minutes duration. Selected articles from this workshop will be published in a special issue of Australasian Canadian Studies, April 2015.

Registration:

Registration is $75 for participants in full-time employment and $50 for students. Registration includes lunch, morning and afternoon tea/coffee, and a reception following the workshop, as well as a 2-year membership of the Association for Canadian Studies in Australia and New Zealand and a subscription to the Association’s journal, Australasian Canadian Studies

Payment for the Workshop can be made with PayPal, here: 

Full-time Emplyoyed Registration: $75

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Student Registration: $50

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Time and Location:

The Workshop will take place on Monday 8th December, beginning at 8:30 am and ending at 5:30 pm with a reception sponsored by the Canadian High Commission, Canberra. The Workshop and reception will take place in Room 1.04 of Coombs Extension Building (Building #8), on Fellows Road, Australian National University (ANU) campus, in Canberra, Australia. Details of the building (including a link to the relevant campus map) can be found here: http://campusmap.anu.edu.au/displaybldg.asp?no=8

Accommodation:

Canberra has a number of accommodation options. University House is located across the road from the venue (http://unihouse.anu.edu.au/), and some of the University Colleges offer accommodation from late November (http://rcc.anu.edu.au/summer.php). There are also a number of hotels nearby: hotels in Civic, Canberra City, or New Acton will be easily walkable. Please see http://www.visitcanberra.com.au/ for further information on accommodation options and general information on visiting Canberra.

 

For more information please contact:

Dr Benjamin Authers Benjamin.Authers@anu.edu.au 

Dr Robyn Morris robynm@uow.edu.au by Friday, 8th August, 2014.

The Association for Canadian Studies in Australia and New Zealand holds conferences biennially (in even years).