Sunday, June 2, 2019
With financial support from the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences’ Aid for Interdisciplinary Sessions Fund.
In Dionne Brand’s recent novel Theory, the unidentified speaker attempts to complete a wildly ambitious thesis, confronting not only the distracting forces of three consecutive lovers, but also the question of ‘Theory’ itself, and the contradictions between the ideal of freely revolutionary research and writing, and the strictures of institutionally sanctioned language, methods, and references. One decidedly minor character appearing in a footnote near the end of the novel is ‘Chariandy,’ whose enthusiastic commentary on the writings of the brilliant ‘Xavier Simon’ serves, perhaps, as but a further cautionary illustration of the tension between authorized academic criticism and the sublime energies of Black art.
In the proposed work of auto-fiction, we will attempt to excavate the story of the mysterious ‘Chariandy,’ exploring his own complicated romance with ‘Theory’ in an academic moment and setting defined by post-structural melancholia, gloomy utilitarian architecture, an increasingly vocal racialized student body, and the neo-liberal assault upon an ostensibly ‘radical’ university. In particular, we will explore ‘Chariandy’s’ efforts to complete an original thesis on Black Canadian literature while secretly pursuing what he assumes is Theory’s wholly discredited notion of ‘creative writing.’
The co-host for this event is: 12 - Canadian Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies (CACLALS)
- David Chariandy, Professor in the Department of English at Simon Fraser University