Vienna Lectures in Canadian Studies

The Centre for Canadian Studies at the University of Vienna has initiated lecture series entitled “Vienna Lectures in Canadian Studies / Conférences de Vienne en Études Canadiennes” (VLCS), which is hosted annually by one of the Centre’s two directing departments.

For the series’ inaugural lecture in January 2016, Jörg Türschmann (Department of Romance Languages) and Alexandra Ganser (Department of English and American Studies) hosted Ruth Phillips, Canada Research Chair in Modern Culture, Professor of Art History at Carleton University, Ottawa, and one of the leading experts in Native North American art and (visual) culture. 

In her talk “Between Rocks and Hard Places: Indigenous Lands, Settler Art Histories, and the ‘Battle for the Woodlands,’” Prof. Phillips discussed the history and development of indigenous art, from rock paintings as the earliest forms of human literacy to modern art installations, such as those initiated by Ojibwe performance artist and sculptor Bonnie Divine. Prof. Phillips engaged with the history of erasure of indigenous markings, and the necessity for and importance of reestablishing bonds between people and paintings.

During her stay in Vienna, Prof. Phillips and three First Nations PhD-candidates from the University of Ottawa traveling with her also visited the Great-Lakes collection at the Weltmuseum Wien to conduct research for their own projects.

The second VLCS, "Quebec Cinema as Global Cinema?," was hosted by the Department of Romance Languages and delivered by Bill Marshall from the University of Stirling in December 2017 (see Lecture Series 2017/18).

The third VLCS, entitled "‘Between the Specters’: Caribbean Neo-Slave Novels by Canadian Women" was held by Tegan Zimmerman (Stephen's College) in June 2018. Prof. Zimmerman argued that At the Full and Change of the Moon by Dionne Brand and House of Rougeaux by Jenny Jaeckel contest master narratives, historical erasures, violence, and political exclusion both in the past and in the present, by focusing on female genealogies and figures. 

Elisabeth Tutschek (Université de Montréal, IRTG Diversity) delivered the fourth VLCS, "Negotiating Family Histories Across Generations: Two Examples from Contemporary Canadian and Anglo-Québec Writing," on December 5, 2019. (12:15pm, Department of English and American Studies, SR 5). 

The fifth VLCS, "CANADA IS … WHAT?! A ‘crowd-sourced’ and tactile inquiry into our collective notions of ‘Canada,’" was presented by Helene Vosters on June 2, 2021 (2pm CET, Zoom).

The 2022 VLCS was a little different from the previous ones. In lieu of a traditional lecture, author Madeleine Thien read excerpts from Do Not Say We Have Nothing, her 2016 novel which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, among other accolades. The reading was followed by an interview with the author conducted by Helena Oberzaucher, and a Q&A session with the audience. The event was part of the European Summer School in Canadian Studies and took place on July 26, 2022.

The sixth VLCS was held by Andrea A. Davis (York University), author of Horizon, Sea, Sound: Caribbean and African Women's Cultural Critiques of Nation (Nortwestern University Press, 2022), on June 29, 2023, at the Hofburg (Schreyvogelsaal) and co-organized with the Research Platform Mobile Cultures and Societies. In her lecture entitled "Black Women's (Im)Mobilities: Memory, History and Diasporic Entanglements", Professor Davis returned to the trope of the sea to trace the contours of Caribbean women's crossings from West Africa to the Caribbean, Canada and Europe through the archive of the ships that connected enslaved Africans and indentured Indians with the Indigenous peoples of the Americas.

The lectures will be published as Vienna Working Papers in Canadian Studies.