Scholar Strike Canada

An ad hoc group of Canadian academics have named September 9th and 10th as days of anti-racist action:

Scholars across Canadian universities are outraged at the relentless anti-Black police killings of Black people in the U.S. and in Canada. As athletes have done, so, too, must academics.   We will be joining thousands of academics in higher education in a labour action known as Scholar Strike to protest anti-Black, racist and colonial police brutality in the U.S., Canada and elsewhere.  …

The Canadian action is aligned with the one in the U.S., in its call for racial justice, an end to anti-Black police violence and it adds a specific focus on anti-Indigenous, colonial violence.  

Scholar Strike Canada

Mine is one of many signatures in support of the action.

There are two days of online teach-in events and useful resources on the Scholars Strike Canada page, and groupings and institutions across the country have gathered a plethora of materials, from anti-racist reading lists to local resources. I will fight my magpie instincts and forebear from creating another soon-to-go stale list here, but I would like to point out two items of particular or specific local interest:

  • Finally, this story in The New York Times about NYC birder Christian Cooper’s new graphic story (links to the story, “It’s a Bird,” available for free, in the NYT piece).

Back, with sprinkles

It has been over a year since I last posted here; recently any urges toward online communication have been funnelled into FB, instagram, and my teaching weblogs. I have periodically thought that I really should, that it is certainly time to, that it has been too long, but those impulses have always passed. Now, however, we may be at that point. The pandemic has meant that we are all more and more online, but it has also meant that my teaching has also moved online, and so I have given up my wordpress.com blogs in favour of fuller-featured teaching software supported by my uni. Which is fine as far as it goes; we can do a lot more than we could with a traditional blog, such as groups, chats, &c. But it also means that I have nowhere to park any interesting tidbits or bon mots. So, this nascent blog will now be repurposed as a general-purpose, safe-for-work, literature and culture blog with my students as the main intended audience.

Or at least that is the plan.

And what my students shall think of it, we shall see.

Walking the Clouds

Am almost finished reading Walking the Clouds, an anthology of Indigenous SFF edited by Grace L. Dillon, and am enjoying it immensely. These stories put all the blurbs and reviews that describe this or that writer or text as “expanding the genre” in perspective. Came to be reading the collection as part of the mapping side-project I am doing: there seem to be some telling distinctions between Canadian and U.S. zombie narratives, and part of the reason has to do, I think, with Indigenous narratives: the narratives themselves, but perhaps also the consciousness of those narratives, or at least of some of the history of colonization, on the part of settler or immigrant Canadian authors. Of course, there is plenty of history in the U.S., but perhaps a different consciousness about it? I am really out on a limb here. I started with something that seemed so clear: maps. But then again, maps! Can I really complain if I find some dragons?

Have also ordered Mitêwâcimowina: Indigenous Science Fiction and Speculative Storytelling, edited by Neal McLeod and published in B.C. by an indigenous press, Theytus Books. And is that not the best cover image ever? Many of the pieces in Walking the Clouds are excerpts from novels rather than short stories, which is somewhat unusual in SFF, the last bastion of short fiction. Or so I tell my students. I will be interested to see whether that is also the case in McLeod’s collection.