Contested Spaces, Counter-narratives, and Culture from Below in Canada and Québec


This collection explores strategies of reading space and conflict in Canadian and Québécois literary and cultural performances. How do literary texts and popular cultural performances produce and contest spatial practices? What is the role of the nation, the city, the community, and the individual subject in reproducing space, even during times of global hegemony and neocolonialism? In what ways do marginalized individuals and communities represent, contest, or appropriate spaces through counter-narratives and expressions of culture from below? And how does space itself shape conflict, counter-memory, and culture from below?

Focusing on contestation instead of harmony and consensus, Contested Spaces disturbs the idealized space of Canadian multicultural pluralism to carry literary analysis and cultural studies into spaces often undetected and unforeseen; Contested Spaces exposes geographies of exclusion and difference such as flophouses and "slums," shantytowns and urban alleyways, underground spaces and peep shows, inner city urban parks as experienced by minority ethnics, the poor, women, social activists, Indigenous people, and Francophones in Canada. These essays are the product of sustained and high-level collaboration across French and English academic communities in Canada to facilitate theoretical exchange on the topic of space and contestation, to expose geographies of exclusion, and to generate new spaces of hope in the spirit of pioneering work by Henri Lefebvre, Michel Foucault, Michel de Certeau, Doreen Massey, David Harvey, and other more recent theorists of space.

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