Introduction [in English]

  • Erin Keating,
  • Kathryn Ready and
  • Anne Sechin

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Cover of Volume 41, 2022, pp. 1-277, Lumen

The road to the conference that inspired this issue of Lumen proved to be particularly long and circuitous. This event was originally supposed to take place in Winnipeg: Treaty One territory, located on the traditional territory of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples and the homeland of the Métis Nation, in 2020. However, the ongoing risks and uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic demanded that, as organizers, we postpone the conference until the fall of 2021. For a long time, we were hopeful that it would still be an in-person event, but we realized in the spring of 2021, as new variants emerged and we continued to see wave after wave of illness, that we needed to put the question to our scheduled presenters in a survey. Based on the responses we received and an overwhelming majority who preferred to deliver their papers virtually, we were convinced that we needed to adopt an online format. Amidst the many challenges were gains for the conference because of the longer time we had for planning and preparation. For instance, one of the special events we envisioned for the conference in 2020 was a one-day workshop at the University of Winnipeg on the Indigenous eighteenth century, co-organized by Kathryn Ready and her colleague in English at the University of Winnipeg, Paul DePasquale. In the intervening period, these co-organizers were able to expand the Indigenous eighteenth-century one-day workshop to three full days that ran alongside the main program. They are now working to produce an edited collection from those presentations. This program provided an official opening to the conference with a roundtable, “The Past in the Present, Possibilities for the Future,” with greetings and blessings from Elder Calvin Pompana, moderation by Annette Trimbee, former President of the University of Winnipeg (current President and Vice-Chancellor, MacEwan University), and comments and response by Jennefer Nepinak, then Associate Vice-President of Indigenous Engagement at the University of Winnipeg. The main speakers were Elder Jeannette Armstrong, Elder Louis Bird, whose words were brought to us with assistance from Maureen Matthews, curator at the Manitoba Museum, and Elder Thomas R. Porter. In addition to panels, the Indigenous eighteenth-century program that followed included two two-part roundtables, one on teaching in the Indigenous eighteenth century, moderated by Megan Peiser and Willow White, and one on researching in the Indigenous eighteenth century, moderated by June Scudeler. As conference organizers, we are grateful that we could adapt other special events online that we had originally planned in person, as well as adding some content designed specifically for online delivery. The author of Stolen City: Racial Capitalism and the Making of Winnipeg (2018), Owen Toews, provided a virtual version of what was to have been a physical walking tour of downtown Winnipeg. Bill Kerr, professor of theatre at the University of Manitoba, hosted a virtual workshop on gesture and bodily expression in Restoration comedy that was supposed to take place during an afternoon program at the Dalnavert Museum and Visitor’s Centre. Paul Rice, professor emeritus of musicology at Memorial University, provided us with an expertly curated pre-recorded eighteenth-century musical jukebox, and Sylvia Hunt, master lecturer of English at Laurentian University, gave us several entertaining pre-recorded eighteenth-century cooking demonstrations. Finally, Chantel Lavoie, with Leslie Ritchie, and Marc André Bernier organized two highly successful themed online salons. Because of the online format, we could record and post much of this special programming on CSECS (Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies)’s YouTube channel, along with recordings of all three of our keynote speakers. To speak now to our conference theme, “Translation and Appropriation in the Long Eighteenth Century,” it …