Using Captain Vancouver’s Voyage to Examine What is Accomplished By Reconsidering and Rewriting the Past

Prof. Lee Gulyas, Western Washington University

This talk regards the earliest mapmakers, “Whose imaginations were usually more reliable than their sources,” and how they portrayed what would become Canada as an amorphous blob of unknown dangers. Everything west of the Atlantic was imagined and scrawled in, worthy of exploration only for either gold or the legendary Strait of Anian/Northwest Passage. In 1791, Captain George Vancouver’s four-and-a-half year expedition to map the Pacific coast of the North American continent changed the course of history for Europe, the Americas, and the indigenous nations. Yet Canada is still very much a blend of fact and fiction. As we consider the narrativization of history in Canadian literature, we will be doing our own mapping by examining history alongside two literary works that are fascinating by their merit and strategies in their own right, but also raise important questions about history, gender, ethnicity, place, work, justice, politics, and regionalism. These works explore landscape, imagination, and identity to point to larger questions of history, story, and what is accomplished by reconsidering and rewriting the past.  

Speaker Biography: Lee Gulyas is a Senior Lecturer in the English Department and affiliated faculty in Canadian-American Studies at Western Washington University. She recently received the Ronald Kleinknecht Excellence in Teaching Award. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The University of British Columbia. Her work has appeared in journals such as The Common, Prime Number, Barn Owl Review, Event, The Malahat Review, Tinderbox, Literary Mama, Sweet, Full Grown People, ReDivider, and is forthcoming in Los Angeles Review and Los Angeles Review of Books. She received a Washington State Artist Trust Grant, and has twice led Western Washington University’s Service-Learning Study Abroad Program to Rwanda.


This talk part of the Canadian Studies Colloquium Series and is Co-Sponsored by the UC Berkeley English Department.

The Canadian Studies Colloquium Series is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Consulate General of Canada San Francisco | Silicon Valley

This event is free, open to the public, and wheelchair accessible.

Lee Gulyas
Moses Hall
Lead Image: 
Tuesday, October 4, 2016
1:30 p.m.
Event ID: 
102 871
Event Type: 
Lunch Talk