Vol 2, No 1,2 (2015)


  Introduction to the Special Issue “CONNECTIONS”

                                                   “Only connect!”

                                        ― E.M. Forster, Howards End

In the realities of the globalised world of the 21st  century, we are all connected, whether through our actions, our cultural practices, our ideas, or our values. These connections may be made in person, or mediated; they may reach across continents, across countries or simply across the street. They may be physical or emotional, affective, political or economic and are ever-changing against the backdrop of contemporary technology. Then again, forging connections might not always be as easy as the introductory quote by E.M. Forster suggests.

This special issue of Multilingual Discourses presents selected proceedings of the 2014 Connections conference organized by and for graduate students from the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta. For two days in early February, students from across disciplines shared their research with each other, with the faculty, and with scholars from U of A.

The articles selected examine notions of self and identity in relation to the collective in multicultural contexts as represented in literature, pop culture, or the news. While the term “Connections” implies the notion of points of contact, the articles also illustrate that connections can be potential sites of tension. Harmony and discord are continually negotiated.

The double issue covers definitions of identities and subaltern cultures in the Americas with the notions of “Americanity” and “Neobaroque,” a look at slavery history and an early text condemning its destructive impact on both slaves and colonizers in Haiti, discussions of literary heritage that goes beyond national identity, as well as representations of national power in China and outside its boarders. The issue examines contemporary feminist activism through FEMEN’s reception in France and a parallel between pop artist Miley Cyrus and punk feminist Kathleen Hanna exemplifying a potential continuum in feminist art.

We would like to extend our special thanks to those who have helped us in putting together this special issue: the authors who have been working and reworking their articles, the peer-reviewers providing time and insights to better improve the quality of this issue, the manager of Multilingual Discourses who guided us, guest editors, through the processes of publication, and our colleagues and friends never failing to provide support and ideas. We hope you enjoy reading the articles, and that a tradition of publishing proceedings will take roots for MLCS Graduate Students to showcase their research and editing skills.

Marine Gheno and Lars Richter


Table of Contents


Guangfeng Chen
Stephen Cruikshank
Marine Gheno
Adrien Guyot
Jeff Longard
Silvia Sgaramella
Lars Richter