David Eso (PhD student) will deliver two high profile conference papers on Canadian literature
In 2017, doctoral student David Eso will deliver two conference papers. The first, “Home from Away: Kroetsch’s American Decades,” will open University of Ottawa’s Symposium on Robert Kroetsch (April 28 – 9). Building upon the scholar’s M.A. project, this paper follows the path of Kroetsch’s two-decade tenure as a resident of the United States. Unlike previous commentary on the writer’s American influence, such as that by Robin Matthews in his Betrayal of the Intellectuals, Eso’s paper finds that distance from Canada and a longing for connection to his artistic peers helped Kroetsch to develop a uniquely powerful perspective on his homeland—the Battle River country of central Alberta—and the rapidly transforming national literary scene of the 1960s and 70s.
At York University’s History conference 150 Ideas that Shaped Canada (October 12 – 14) Eso will deliver the initial findings of his doctoral research. “Un-shaping Canada: Flat Earth Satire and the Fredericton Alt-left” investigates the obscure history of the Canadian Chapter of the International Flat Earth Society, begun in 1970 by Alden Nowlan, Gwendolyn MacEwen, Farley Mowat, and others. “Un-shaping Canada” argues that, unlike more militant planoterrestrialist groups, the Canadian Chapter re-deployed the rhetoric of 19th-century anti-globularism to lampoon the occult or conspiracy theory but also, and more insistently, to critique an emergent technocratic global society. This study in cultural history extends the metaphoric dynamics of an imaginatively Flattened Earth to contemporaneous creative work by the individual writers at the core of this one-of-a-kind literary network.