International Symposium: Biopolitics – Geopolitics – Sovereignty – Life: Settler Colonialisms and Indigenous Presences in North America

International Symposium, University of Mainz, 25-27 June 2015

Organizers: Dr. René Dietrich (Mainz), Prof. Dr. Kerstin Knopf (Bremen)

This conference takes issue with biopolitics and geopolitics in the settler nation-states of North America, executed through continuing techniques of dispossession and surveillance of Indigenous populations, as well as with corresponding forms of sovereignty, agency, and life exercised in the matrix of biopower.

Biopolitical attempts to regulate Indigenous peoples – via removal, assimilation, education, administration, representation, genealogical politics, surveillance and disciplinary regimes – subject Indigenous nations to settler colonial rule by depoliticizing them. Biopolitical practices act towards Indigenous nations not as sovereign political entities in their own right, but subsume them under the imaginary racialized population of ‘Indians’ that is mainly defined through its separation from the settlers’ body politic proper. At the same time, Morgan Brigg’s concept of ‘terrapolitics’ and Mark Rifkin’s concept of ‘bare habitance’ have crucially pointed out that discussions of settler colonial biopolitics of racialization and regulation should not come at the expense of geopolitics of dispossession and removal. In this light, recent interrogations of settler colonial violence against Indigenous lands and lives in the production of colonial space in the U.S. and Canada (Mishuana Goeman) and the employment of “Indianness” for the transit of U.S. empire (Jodi Byrd) manifest the link between theories of bio- and geopolitics as an integral instrument to critique settler colonial techniques and practices.

Life itself, however, was less in the focus of critical inquiry. Putting forth that life is situated at a crucial junction between bio- and geopolitics, this conference wants to advance recent work by exploring and theorizing the different politics and epistemologies (concepts, forms, knowledges) of life in settler and Indigenous contexts in relation to bio- and geopolitical practices. It seeks to investigate how these can help to formulate ‘life’ as a category for political analysis and critique in settler-Indigenous relations, in evolving formations of sovereignty and agency, and in the struggle for decolonization.

We thus invite scholars of various disciplines engaged in these issues to discuss how an in-depth exploration of ‘life’ as a critical concept and political category in the tension between bio- and geopolitical practices and Indigenous forms of sovereignty and agency helps to further illuminate the complex, contested and still largely asymmetrical relations and interactions between settler colonialisms and Indigenous presences in North America.

Confirmed speakers: Mishuana Goeman (U of California), Mark Rifkin (U of North Carolina), Andrea Smith (U of California), Michael R. Griffiths (U of Wollongong), Robert Nichols (U of Minnesota), Audra Simpson (Columbia U), Kathy-Ann Tan (Tuebingen), Brian Hudson (U of Oklahoma), Gesa Mackenthun (Rostock), Sandy Grande (Connecticut College), Norbert Finzsch (Cologne), Jaqueline Fear-Segal (East Anglia), Ursula Lehmkuhl (Trier), Sabine N. Meyer (Osnabrueck), René Dietrich (Mainz).

The symposium features a reading by Deborah A. Miranda (Raised by Humans. Poems, 2015; Bad Indians. A Tribal Memoir, 2013)

For further information see:

For any questions please contact:,

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‘The Constitution of Canada: A Contextual Analysis’ by Jeremy Webber

The Constitution of CanadaWebber-Constitution of Canada_Cover

A Contextual Analysis

Jeremy Webber                    

The book introduces and describes the principal characteristics of the Canadian Constitution, including Canada’s institutional structure and the principal drivers of Canadian constitutional development. The Constitution is set in its historical context, noting especially the complex interaction of national and regional societies that continues to shape the Constitution of Canada. The book argues that aspects of the Constitution are best understood in ‘agonistic’ terms, as the product of a continuing encounter or negotiation, with each of the contending interpretations rooted in significantly different visions of the relationship among peoples and societies in Canada. It suggests how these agonistic relationships have, in complex ways, found expression in distinctive doctrines of Canadian constitutional law and how these doctrines represent approaches to constitutional legality that may be more widely applicable. As such the book charts the Canadian expression of trans-societal constitutional themes: democracy, parliamentarism, the rule of law, federalism, human rights and Indigenous rights, and describes the country that has resulted from the interplay of these themes.

Jeremy Webber is Dean of Law at the University of Victoria, Canada. He held the Canada Research Chair in Law and Society in the Faculty of Law of the University of Victoria from 2002 to 2014 and was appointed a Fellow of the Trudeau Foundation in 2009.


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Canadian Studies Days 2015

Teaching Canada – Enseigner le Canada, Tagung/Fortbildung vom
25.-27.6.2015 in Marburg

Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,

Sprechen Sie franglais? Kennen Sie ice hockey literature? Und was ist überhaupt los mit Multikulti in Kanada? Ob Sie sich für chansons, kanadisches Fernsehen oder Theater, Comics oder Kurzgeschichten, Alice Munro oder Thomas King, kanadische Kultur, Geschichte oder Politik interessieren – der Canadian Studies Day 2015 bietet all das – und noch viel mehr…

Das Marburger Zentrum für Kanada-Studien veranstaltet vom 25.-27.6.2015 in Marburg eine interdisziplinäre und internationale Tagung/Lehrerfortbildung zum Thema „Teaching Canada – Enseigner le Canada“. WissenschaftlerInnen, NachwuchswissenschaftlerInnen, LehrerInnen, Studierende und SchülerInnen eröffnen auf dem Canadian Studies Day ein breites Feld an Themen, Methoden und Ideen für den Unterricht an Schulen und Universitäten.

Hier das vorläufige Programm.  Die Teilnehmerzahl ist begrenzt.

Weitere Informationen zur Tagung und zur Anmeldung finden Sie auf der Homepage des Marburger Zentrums für Kanada-Studien unter:

Die Veranstaltung ist durch das Hessische Kultusministerium (Landesschulamt und Lehrkräfteakademie) als Lehrerfortbildung akkreditiert. LSA-Angebots-Nr.: 01581939. Weitere Informationen zur Akkreditierung:


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CfP: “Empire & Neurosis” Postgraduate Forum “Postcolonial Narrations”

October 8-10, 2015, University of Duisburg-Essen (Campus Essen)

The third edition of the postgraduate forum “Postcolonial Narrations” addresses the interconnections between imperial practices and neurosis. The forum theme proposes to investigate the range of ‘neuroses’ that are generated by or connected to colonial or imperial experiences, but transcends any strictly clinical meaning of ‘neurosis’ and expands into philosophical, literary, and metaphorical implications of the term. In this wider sense, neurosis functions as a tool to describe the individual experiences of colonized and colonizer while the concept also invites questions about the political, social, economic, and cultural practices of establishing, maintaining, or rationalizing empires past and present. The postgraduate forum welcomes contributions by PhD students and postdocs who work in the field of Anglophone literature and cultures, Postcolonial Studies, Linguistics, Pedagogy, Media and Film Studies. Contributors are invited to engage with the theme of “Empire & Neurosis.” As the postgraduate forum aspires to facilitate dialogue, exchange, and collaboration among junior scholars, participants will be given the opportunity to present their projects to an audience of early-career researchers. The conference will take place at the University of Duisburg-Essen, October 8-10, 2015.

The Postcolonial Narrations Conference 2015 will explore value and challenges of bringing together empire and neurosis for the study of contemporary literature, culture and politics. The forum invites papers from different disciplines and reflections on different types of texts, including poetry, prose, film, photography, art, dance, and others. We also welcome comparative approaches that put Anglophone postcolonial literature and culture into dialogue with cultural production in other languages. The debate on imperial neurosis should by no means be limited to former territories of the British Empire. We encourage applicants to venture into comparative analyses that may bring in different imperial formations. Some of the key issues guiding our discussion might be:

• Reading empire through neurotic experiences
• Understanding neurosis as imperial practice and as a consequence empire
• Narrating neurosis in the postcolonial world
• The impact of neurosis on conceptualizations of empire
• Literature and culture in the context of empire & neurosis
• Neurosis as a (dis)rupture of imperial practices
• Postcolonial memorials and memory
• Urban experiences of empire & neurosis
• Psychoanalysis as Postcolonial Theory
• The postcolonial psyche in media, literature, and popular culture
• Problematizing the concept of neurosis, nervous states, or postcolonial melancholia
• Teaching the postcolonial condition in the EFL classroom
• Local and historical specificities in comparison

If you are interested in contributing, please send an abstract (300 words) for a 20 minute presentation to postcolonial.narrations[at] no later than June 15, 2015. We’d be happy if you could include a short biographical note and the topic of your current project.

For more information and a detailed call for papers, please visit

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Reminder: Central European Association for Canadian Studies

The Central European Association for Canadian Studies will be hosting its 7th triennial international conference on October 9-11, 2015 in Zagreb (Croatia) and will have the theme ”Beyond the 49th Parallel: Canada and the North – Issues and Challenges”. They are currently accepting proposals, which can be sent no later than April 30, 2015. For more information, please visit:


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International conference “Ideology in Postcolonial Texts and Contexts”

This conference on Ideology in Postcolonial Texts and Contexts (Münster, 14-16 May 2015) serves as a forum for theoretical reflections and critical re-evaluations of the term ideology in a multi- and interdisciplinary context. As a field that is characterized by diversity with regard to its methodologies as well as to the disciplines involved, contemporary postcolonial studies are particularly well-suited for carrying out this debate around such a highly complex concept. This includes the discussion about the ideological (or counter-ideological?) implications of ‘postcolonialism’ itself.

This conference is organized by the English Seminar at the University of Münster, representing book studies, linguistics, literary and cultural studies, and TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). We look forward to a vibrant discussion among our participants and speakers from these and a broad range of neighbouring disciplines.

Invited keynote speakers are:
Lionel Wee, Singapore (confirmed)
Beth LeRoux, Pretoria (confirmed)
Ingrid Johnston, Edmonton (t.b.c.)

The conference will combine different formats, such as plenary talks, panel and roundtable discussions, poster sessions, and readings.

We are very much looking forward to engaging presentations as well as academic exchange and dialogue among junior and senior researchers from different regions as well as a broad range of academic backgrounds.

For further information on the conference, please visit our conference website:

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GKS-Jahrestagung 2015

Ab sofort finden Sie das vorläufige Programm der GKS-Jahrestagung 2015 sowie das Anmeldeformular, Anreiseinformationen und ein Antragsformular für den Studierendenzuschuss zum Download unter

Die Jahrestagung findet vom 6. bis 8. Februar 2015 im Hotel am Badersee in Grainau statt. Anmeldungen sind bis zum 31. Dezember 2014 möglich. Weitere Informationen entnehmen Sie bitte dem Anmeldeformular.

Die Mitglieder der GKS erhalten im Laufe der kommenden Woche noch eine Einladung per Post.

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CfP: “The aesthetics and politics of contemporary women’s life-writing in Canada and the US: multicultural perspectives”

The international conference “The aesthetics and politics of contemporary women’s life-writing in Canada and the US: multicultural perspectives”, organised by the Faculty of English, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan (Poland) will take place 07 March 2015. This conference will focus on life-writing by North American women in the context of the multicultural societies of Canada and the United States.

Deadline for paper or panel proposals: November 30th 2014

Please find the Call for Papers here.

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Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies at Trent University

Canadian Studies Ph.D. program

The Canadian Studies Ph.D. program at Trent University is the first of its kind in Canada. It is designed for students interested in pursuing research in an interdisciplinary context. This program is offered jointly by the Frost Centre for Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies at Trent University in Peterborough (about 90 minutes from Toronto), and the School of Canadian Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa. Please see the following link for more information about the program:


Canadian Studies & Indigenous Studies M.A. program

The Master’s programme in Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies has established itself as the foremost program of its kind. With Canada as both a subject and context for inquiry, the MA areas of study include Canada in a global context; cultural heritage, literature, theory and the arts; environmental politics, policy and natural heritage; Aboriginal peoples; political economy, labour and community development; women and gender; identities and difference in Canada. Reflecting the breadth of the field itself, this multidisciplinary program draws upon the scholarly knowledge and expertise from the humanities, social sciences and other interdisciplinary fields such as environmental studies and gender studies. Master’s students select between a twelve month course and research-based program, or a twenty-four month course and thesis-based option. Please see the following link for more information about the program:


Admissions deadline for the MA and PhD programs is February 1st, 2015. Details about admission are available on the Graduate Studies link on the Trent University website:

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CfA: Graduate School of North American Studies

The Graduate School of the John F. Kennedy-Institute for North American Studies invites applications for 10 Doctoral Grants and 4 Postdoctoral Positions (E13, 75%), starting October 1, 2015.

For more information, please click here.


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