Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Trans/acting Culture, Writing, and Memory: Essays in Honour of Barbara Godard

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Trans/acting Culture, Writing, and Memory: Essays in Honour of Barbara Godard

Article excerpt

Eva C. Karpinski et al. (eds), Trans/acting Culture, Writing, and Memory: Essays in Honour of Barbara Godard (Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2013), 394 pp. Paper. £35.99. ISBN 978-1-55458-839-8.

Barbara Godard's influence as 'a creator and a cartographer' (p. 3) of the field of Canadian literature is far-reaching, both in terms of her audience and her subject matter. Her prolific writing on a vast range of subjects, extending from feminist semiotics to public memory and archival collection, has inspired this collection of essays in her honour. The essays reflect the diversity and complexity of Godard's work; following Godard's lead, they interrogate the dynamics of power that underpin societal conceptions and receptions of gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, art and culture, and memor y and commemo- ration. In each of these politicised spaces, the authors pursue questions of how linguistic and visual representations of 'others' contribute to overt and latent displacement and marginalisation.

As the discovery of unexpected connections implies, the blurring and crossing of boundaries (implicit in the trans- of the collection's title and of Godard's own idiom) is an essential element of these authors' critical explorations. The four essays in the first section are concerned with interpretations of diegetic texts ranging from national narratives to experimental novels. In each essay, the interpretive act is recognised as a form of translation, which in turn becomes a statement of creative and political activism. In Part II, the authors respond to Godard's 'call for more historical consciousness' (p. xv) by drawing attention to the politics of power that inform Canada's national narrative and determine the criteria for inclusion or exclusion in that narrative. …

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