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Conference report

The 35th annual convention of the British Association for Canadian Studies, which took place 6-8 April 2010 at Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge, gathered together over a hundred young and established scholars for a series of stimulating discussions interrogating the phenomenon of democracy in both the Canadian and international contexts. In tune with its theme – ‘Democracy as a Work in Progress: The Intellectual and Cultural Dynamics of the Canadian Idea’ – this year’s conference offered academics, independent researchers and students from Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Finland, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Mexico, Netherlands, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Taiwan (RoC) and USA the opportunity to engage in a productive dialogue across disciplines. Over eighty scholarly papers were presented in parallel themed sessions on History and Politics, Literature and Cultural Studies, Economics and Geography, Linguistics and Media, First Nations and Quebec Studies.

This year we had the privilege to welcome four remarkable plenary speakers, whose addresses offered insights into the nature and practice of Canadian democracy. Professor Francisco Colom González of the Spanish National Research Council gave a talk about ‘Accommodating Legal Pluralism in the Democratic Polity’, Professor Benoït Pellitier of the University of Ottawa presented in his paper ‘Some thoughts on Canada’s Identity’, and Professor Andrew Cohen of Carleton University focused on ‘Canada and the Challenges of Citizenship’. The Eccles lecture was delivered by Dr Danielle Fuller, University of Birmingham; entitled, ‘Citizen Reader: Canadian literature, Mass Reading Events and the Promise of Belonging’, it explored the question of alternative forms of citizenship and belonging through participation in mass reading events.

Thanks to the Conference organising committee for the spending organisation and smooth running of this year’s convention: Dr Susan Hodgett (University of Ulster), Dr Steve Hewitt (University of Birmingham), Professor Rachel Killick (University of Leeds), Dr Fiona Tolan (Liverpool John Moore’s University), Dr Leigh Oakes (Queen Mary University of London), Jodie Robson (BCS), Slink Jadranko (BACS) and Thomas Snell (University of Newcastle).

Milena Marinkova, University of Leeds

Conference 2010