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"Contested Canada: Navigating Past, Present and Future Sovereignties": 20th Annual Conference of the Emerging Scholars Forum

Jun 29, 2023 - Jun 30, 2023

Questions of sovereignty are at the core of the study of Canada. From Indigenous nations and their quest for the recognition of treaty rights to Quebec nationalism to the Prairie Provinces’ current rejection of Canadian federalism, the concept of sovereignty, or perhaps sovereignties, continues to dominate the Canadian political and cultural landscape.

Indigenous sovereignties are continually questioned and violently contested through the ongoing appropriation of Indigenous land, environmental destruction, and the imposition of Eurocentric forms of government on Indigenous nations while outlawing traditional leadership structures. On a more individual scale, Indigenous people are disproportionately imprisoned, and Indigenous parents are more likely to be deprived of access to their children. For many Indigenous communities, clean drinking water, nutritious and/or traditional food, or sufficient access to health care are not available, a problem which is especially present in the (sub)arctic.

For their part, settlers have always been preoccupied with questions of sovereignty, from the Royal Proclamation that allowed for the dispossession of Native land to the Canadian nationalist movements which sought independence from imperial influences, as well as the Quebec referenda on sovereignty. However, the topic has recently risen to the fore of national politics again, in particular through legislation passed by Alberta and Saskatchewan that threatens the Canadian Federation as a whole. Other recent developments such as the death of Queen Elizabeth II have led many to further question the future of the Canadian state in its current form. Furthermore, the so-called “Freedom Convoy,” with its opposition to vaccination mandates, the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as debates over medical assistance in dying (MAID) legislation raised questions of bodily sovereignty and personal autonomy.

The conference is open to all. If you would like to attend, please register here.

Download the conference schedule here.
Download the Book of Abstracts here.

Please direct any questions to contestedcanada2023@gmail.com.