Lecture: Novelis Nullius: Legal Norms and the (dis)appearance of Indigenous Peoples in Canadian Fiction

Signa Daum Shanks and Kate Sutherland are presenting the lecture Novelis Nullius: Legal Norms and the (dis)appearance of Indigenous Peoples in Canadian Fiction on February 13, 2017, between 12:30pm and 2:00pm in Osgoode Hall Law School’s Room 2027. According to the event description:

Fiction writers both invent new visions of society, but they also often depict trends that they already observe. In Canada, a series of novels acted as a tool for writers’ interests in either or both purposes. McClelland and Stewart’s “New Canadian Library Series” introduced both new re-printed titles to an audience that also wanted some reflections from the academy about those works’ impact. With either an “introduction” or “afterword”, the NCL novels invited more readers to learn more about Canada and literature by having a lower cost and some guidance not typical of other publishing houses or editions.

By focusing on the NCL titles about Canada’s West, and critiquing how those works and their accompanying scholarly essay represented the historic trends experienced by Indigenous peoples, we investigate how the learning of law giving a more accurate portrait of how these works did, or failed to, illustrate Indigenous peoples accurately. While proponents of the “law and literature” subfield often purport that reading literature can tell us more about the law, we want to discuss how appreciating legal norms can help better evaluate the accuracy and impact of fiction. Thinking about a community’s laws can also refine what we think about the responsibility of all writers – regardless of whether they write a fictional work or a non-fictional presentation.

Make sure to RSVP to confirm your attendance at:  www.osgoode.yorku.ca/research/rsvp


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