In a 1967 lecture entitled ‘Of Other Spaces’ [Des espaces autres] Michel Foucault elaborated on his lifelong fascination with space and spatial metaphors and presented the idea of heterotopia(s) through which he challenged dominant, unilateral ways to think about space and place. Foucault called our attention to the many “counter-sites”, or multiple imaginations, experiences and inscriptions of space and identity, that can be found beyond the “fundamentally unreal” discourse of dominant utopias that seek to define, regulate, and confine particular places and people. In contrast to utopias, then, heterotopias “juxtapos[e] in a single real place several spaces, several sites that are themselves incompatible.” (Foucault, 1986  p25).
Digressing from Foucault’s original coinage of the term to re-conceptualize specific sites and places (cemeteries, cinemas, boats, brothels, etc), we interpret the idea of heterotopia, and the mapping logic of heterotopology, as an alternative way to think of the experience of space as a whole, and a conceptual lens through which to analyze and bring to light the multiple imaginations, experiences, embodiments, and inscriptions of space and place that are inherent in all sites.
What, then, would a heterotopology of the (idea of) North look like?
For this conference, we invite scholars, artists, storytellers, writers, poets and activists to examine different ideas, imaginations, experiences, and inscriptions of the North beyond hegemonic conceptions (the Great “White” North; hegemonic articulations of indigenism; the North and its ‘untapped resources’, etc.).
We leave it up to participants to navigate through that contested space (discursive, physical, human) that is the North, and to identify both Northern utopias (or hegemonies) and the counter-sites they have silenced.
Thus, we hope to bring together a broad range of voices and experiences that highlight the fundamentally plural (contradictory? cacophonic? contrapuntal? heteroglossic?) and heterotopic nature of the North.
We are particularly interested in papers that address the following issues:
Migration, diaspora and metissage
Critical Indigenous perspectives
Race, gender and sexuality
Globalization and transnationalism
Art as Resistance
Works cited: Foucault, M. (1986). ‘Of other spaces’. Diacritics, 16, 22-7.
Deadline: To be considered, an abstract or paper must be received no later than January 15th, 2009.
The abstract or title page must include:
the name, affiliation, email address and telephone number of the principal presenter
name(s) of co-presenters/co-authors
a brief biography of each author/presenter
Submissions using one of the following methods:
Email attachment (PDF or Word) to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fax to: Attn: Dr. Samuel Veissiere
Mail to: University College of the North
Attn: Dr. Samuel Veissiere
504 Princeton Drive
Thompson MB R8N 0A5
For more information and regular updates, please visit our web pages via our home page: www.ucn.ca
Conference Announcement and Call for Abstracts
Wed, Dec 03, 2008
"NORTHERN HETEROTOPIAS" University College of the North, The Pas, Manitoba, Canada, June 4-5, 2009