Symposium celebrates the prolific career of Barbara Godard

The dynamic career of renowned Canadian literary theorist and writer Barbara Godard will be celebrated during a special symposium, Dec. 5 and 6. The event, which brings together some of Canada’s top academics with poets and authors, will pay tribute to the work of the York professor emerita, who retired this year after three decades of teaching and writing. 

Godard’s long career as a theorist, teacher, mentor, translator and activist will be the subject of lectures, presentations and performances when poets, artists and academics convene for a day-and-a-half of readings, screenings and roundtables. Central to the symposium is Godard’s extensive influence on generations of writers, artists and scholars in Canada. The symposium culminates with the launch of the long-awaited Canadian Literature at the Crossroads of Language and Culture (NeWest Press, November 2008), a collection of essays by Godard. 

Left: Professor Emerita Barbara Godard

A professor in the Department of English in the Faculty of Arts and in the graduate programs of social & political thought, women’s studies and French at York, Godard has been teaching at the University since 1971. In 2002 she was honoured with two prestigious teaching awards from York University’s Faculty of Graduate Studies and the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools. Currently serving as York’s first Avie Bennett Historica Chair in Canadian Literature, Godard counts among her many achievements her role as the co-editor of the feminist journal Tessera, the translator of several Quebec poets, and the author and editor of several books.

Celebrated poets Nicole Brossard and Daphne Marlatt will deliver the opening keynote address on Friday, Dec. 5 at 6:30pm. It will be followed by music and a performance by Canadian poet, playwright, novelist and sound poet, Penn Kemp. On Saturday, Dec. 6, poetic readings highlighting a theme of inspiring collaborations will be given by: Concordia Professor Mary Di Michele; Bishops University Professor Trish Salah; poet Di Brandt; playwright Louise Cotnoir; poet Nathalie Stephens (BA Hons. ’93); novelist Lola Tostevin; African Caribbean Canadian writer M. NourbeSe Philip; poet and writer Margaret Christakos; and journalist Gail Scott. A multimedia and visual artwork display featuring works by Janice Andreae, York fine arts Professor Barbara Balfour, Jane Buyers, James Gillespie, York film Professor John Greyson, Vid Ingelevics, Sue Llyod, Anne O’Callaghan, Cheryl Sourkes and Barbara Sternberg, together with a hologram installation by Majero Bouman and Dunja Baus, will be on exhibit for the duration of the symposium.

Also on Dec. 6, Academic Generations – A round table with past and present students of Godard will convene to discuss her work. The round table will be chaired by Professor Kate Eichhorn (PhD ’04) of Eugene Lang College, New School, New York, NY. Participating in the discussion are Marielle Aylen (PhD ’08), Julia Emberley (PhD ’90), York women’s studies Professor Eva Karpinski (PhD ’04), York film Professor Brenda Longfellow (PhD ’93), Sophie McCall (PhD ’02), Astrida Neimanis (PhD ’08) and Jeremy Stolow (MA ’93, PhD ’00). 

Inspiring Collaborations: A Symposium in Honour of Barbara Godard takes place at the Pia Bouman School For Ballet and Creative Movement, 6 Noble St., in downtown Toronto. The event is free and open to all who are interested in exploring Godard’s exemplary contributions to the Canadian literary landscape.

For more information, visit the Inspiring Collaborations: A Symposium in Honour of Barbara Godard Web site.