Publishing as Social Change

How can publishers contribute to advancing and supporting social change? What issues and considerations must to be addressed in order to create a publishing industry that is fair, inclusive, and accountable?

A selection of recent projects focussing on publishing from a social change perspective are outlined below:

  • Publishing Unbound first started as a three-day symposium organized by SFU’s Publishing department, the Association of Book Publishers of BC, and the Magazine Association of BC. It brought together authors, activists, scholars, and publishing professionals from across the country for a conversation about systemic barriers to accessing Canadian publishing and the often-exclusive world of Canadian writing known as CanLit. As a followup to the event itself, the team is currently developing both an event report and set of free, collectively authored resources to help publishers and authors work towards a more inclusive, diverse, and accountable Canadian publishing industry. CISP Press intends to publish the results in various formats to broaden the reach and impact as much as possible.
  • Literary celebrity. White power. Appropriation. English Canadian Literature has been at the heart of several recent public controversies, breaking open to reveal the accepted injustices at its core. Refuse: CanLit in Ruins (BookThug, 2018) offers a much needed response to these events, providing the critical and historical context needed to understand current conversations about CanLit. Edited by Hannah McGregor, Julie Rak, and Erin Wunker, the collection features essays by a diverse collection of Canadian writers, including Kai Cheng Thom, Zoe Todd, Joshua Whitehead, and others, foregrounding the perspectives of those at the centre of these challenging debates.
  • In 2016, the Internet is far from a safe space for women—even less so for trans women, women of colour, queer women, Indigenous women, and women whose identities otherwise lie at the intersection of multiple forms of oppression. A special issue of the open access journal Atlantis begins from that danger, but it also begins from the possibilities feminist publics and counterpublics actively foster, the communities they form, and the audiences they hail as they negotiate the incredibly fraught space of the Internet. Edited by Hannah McGregor, Marcelle Kosman, and Clare Mulcahy, the collection incorporates works by feminist scholars including Jacqueline Wernimont, Michele White, and Erin Wunker, as well as interviews with activists Alicia Garza, Virgie Tovar, and the editorial collective of GUTS Canadian Feminist Magazine.