August 2020 Newsletter

Dear Members,

I hope you are all in good health and have plans to relax this month before the challenge of the fall term, for those returning to teaching. I am sorry we will miss seeing each other in person this fall, but look forward to seeing you all in Winnipeg in 2021, where we will celebrate our society's fiftieth birthday. The following year we will meet in Ottawa and, in 2022, Montreal.

By now you will have received a membership dues notice. I hope that full-time faculty will pay their dues promptly to ensure that our annual fiscal health, along with everything else, does not find itself compromised by Covid. Dues for non-tenured track faculty and graduate students are waived this year but please do submit your information, so that we can keep our lists up-to-date.

In other news, we had the pleasure of awarding two DW Smith fellowship prizes this spring. The award committee felt that two files were equally deserving, in a very strong field of applications—the largest in my three years as president. Below are excerpts from the committee's report on the winning applications. Congratulations, Jacinthe and Willow!

Jacinthe De Montigne, "La perception du Canada dans l'opinion publique anglaise et française au midi du XVIIIe siècle (1754–1763)." This innovative project will interrogate the perception of Canada in public opinion, both English and French, from the beginning of the War of Conquest (1754) to the signing of the Treaty of Paris (1763), aiming particularly to define the elements, in the imperial policies of the two principal belligerents, that supported the argument in favour of conquering or retaining Canada.

Willow White, "Dramatizing Indigenous Women of North America on the Eighteenth-Century London Stage: Aphra Behn's The Widow Ranter; or, The History of Bacon in Virginia (1690)." This project examines the representation of indigenous women in eighteenth-century drama, taking as its starting point Aphra Behn's The Widow Ranter, or the History of Bacon in Virginia (1690). White intends to analyze the germinal 'Indian princess' trope in this early play, so that its development can be traced through later plays, particularly those by women dramatists.

And—more good news!—we have a new prize this year, the Keymer CSECS award, which supports travel by a graduate student who is studying in the UK, or is a UK citizen, to the CSECS annual meeting. This year's prize has been awarded to Amelia Mills, for her paper, "Women's access to scientific learning: Bernard Le Bovier de Fontenelle's Entretiens sur la pluralité des mondes (1686) and Aphra Behn's A Discovery of New Worlds (1688)." We look forward to hearing it next year! Many thanks to Tom Keymer for his generous support.

Thanks, also, to the members of the Fellowship Committee for their time adjudicating these awards.

In June, we signed the ASECS statement on the killing of George Floyd and the persistence of racism in America. I draw your attention to the useful resources for anti-racist teaching assembled by ASECS, which you can find *here.

Meanwhile, our ad hoc committee on indigeneity has compiled *a list of readings (.docx) for members looking for scholarship on the subjects of colonization and indigenous studies.

I will be consulting with the Executive in the early fall about the possibility of a virtual Annual General Meeting. In addition to the regular reports of the executive, two items of business need our attention:

  1. The first is the naming of our new Lumen essay award. Last year, four names were put forward: John Baird, April London, David A. Trott, and Isobel Grundy. If you would like an additional name to be placed on the ballot, please send me a short nomination paragraph. I will circulate the nomination paragraphs and we will vote by an electronic ballot.
  2. The second is the voting in of our new President. I'm very happy to announce that Joel Castonguay-Belanger has agreed to serve, beginning July 1, 2021.

If you have any other items of business you would like me to attend to, don't hesitate to contact me.

I wish you all the best in these difficult times,


Alison Conway