Theory Sessions

The Theory Sessions, a student initiative, serves as a forum for the exchange of ideas to promote interdisciplinary research in theory at the Centre and across campus. Students and faculty present their papers and engage in spirited discussions, with contributions from interested Centre scholars as well as faculty and students from other fields and disciplines at Western. Topics have included cannibalism, camp, vaginas, anarchism, bioeconomics, and photography.


The Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism presents


Friday, April 5th @ 3:30 p.m.

"Selling (Out) Canada: the mutability
and marketability of contemporary Canadian culture"

A Theory Session 
with Shannon Lodoen


Because of all the social, political, demographic and economic changes that Canada has undergone since Confederation, the ways in which we imagine and understand our nation have also been forced to rapidly adapt. New systems of meaning have arisen that undermine and even actively reject former identity markers, creating the need for continual fabrication and reproduction of cultural elements that align with the prevailing ideals of the time. The myths of our past and present inform these ideals, taking material form in the products that we buy, the media we consume, the activities we undertake, the image we maintain of ourselves. These commodified myths must be stripped of their regional, linguistic, and ethnic biases – a task easier said than done – in order to construct some sort of unity that complies with Canadian policies of multiculturalism, bilingualism, tolerance, etc. The result of all of this is, I argue, a national culture that is a strange bricolage of old colonial relics, appropriated Indigenous elements, hollow boosterism and self-conscious novelties, all set against the backdrop of a multicultural mosaic that has lost much of the idyllic luster it once possessed. This theory session will examine how contemporary consumer culture in Canada purports to reflect Canada’s “all-inclusive” identity, a construct perpetuated by the hegemonic centre to obscure its position of power within Canadian society.

Come and see why the Canadian blandness you take for granted is actually part of a cunning plot to secure/obscure the existing power structures within “our” Home and Native (???) Land!

Respondent: Maryam Golafshani



Theory Sessions--a student-run initiative hosted by the Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism--feature presentations from students and faculty, and are a space for discussion and sharing interdisciplinary research in theory. For those interested in running a session, volunteering to be a respondent, or who would like to chat further about getting involved: please contact Interested students and faculty based outside the Centre, please be in touch as well!

We are now welcoming:
- for those proposing sessions: abstracts (~250-300 words), tentative titles, and an expected window of readiness (i.e. please indicate if, for instance, you are merely doctoring a conference paper or thesis chapter and would be prepared to present in the near future, or if you are embarking on a new project to present at a later date)

- for those interested in responding to sessions: respondents for Sessions do not need to share the presenter's expertise - a relatively meagre patch of common ground can sometimes be the best way to fuel discussion, which is the aim of the respondent. We will likely appeal again for respondents once the topics of the Sessions have been determined, but anyone who would like to be a respondent sometime this year can, at this point, contact us with a short list of interests and we will endeavour to match you up with a presenter

If you would like to give a Session, please feel free to be creative with the format of your talk. Showing a short clip of a film, presenting artwork or poetry, or engaging in a debate with another student are all options. We are happy to field any questions concerning the format or style you are considering, or on anything else about the Sessions.

We look forward to hearing from you!