Canadian Women in the Literary Arts announced that Vancouver-based researcher and writer Lucas Crawford, who identifies as a transgender man, will be its critic-in-residence for 2015.
Crawford, who grew up in Nova Scotia, is the Ruth Wynn Woodward lecturer in gender, sexuality, and women's studies at Simon Fraser University, and is also a poet and performer. He has conducted research in the fields of transgender architecture, fat studies, and queer politics.
In February, he organized the Fat Matters event at SFU's Vancouver campus to address body issues.
Critic-in-Residence jury chair, Libe García Zarranz explained the choice of Crawford for the position in a news release:
"The jury unanimously agreed that Lucas Crawford’s sophisticated proposal not only meets but also expands CWILA’s aims by generating novel conversations on gender, transdisciplinarity, poetics, and performance, among other innovative suggestions for collaboration. In particular, we were intrigued and provoked by some of the questions that Lucas raised in his proposal: How is trans literature integral to women’s literature? How does transgender—as an aesthetic capacity to blur easy boundaries—defy genre? Can we produce statistics about transgender authorship in studies of gender equity in publishing and reviewing?"
Crawford stated that he intends to explore the nature of gender in Canadian literature and Canada's literary community.
“As Critic-in-Residence, I’ll not just seek ways to ‘include’ trans literature, but will also ask tough questions of mainstream literary circles. Do the canons and new circles of Canadian literature sometimes implicitly rely upon harmful ideas about gender? How many trans authors have our leading presses and periodicals published, and why? What does Canadian literature stand to gain by taking seriously work that re-imagines gender, genres, and nation?”
The critic-in-residence program, now in its third year, was created by the national organization to address the gender gap in Canada's literary and critical culture. The position, which is open to all women, transgender, and genderqueer people, was previously held by Sue Sinclair (2013) and Shannon Webb-Campbell (2014).