DICKINSON, Peter




Author Tags: Civil Rights, Film

From his perspective as a white Anglo-Scots gay literary critic in Vancouver, Peter Dickinson has used the prism of homosexual literature to re-examine Canada’s ‘famous problem of identity’ in Here is Queer: Nationalisms, Sexualities and the Literatures of Canada (UTP 1999 $19.95). Writers discussed include Timothy Findley, Dionne Brand, Scott Symons, Tomson Highway, Nicole Brossard, Michel Tremblay and Daphne Marlatt. Dickinson is also the author of a study of Canadian film, Screening Gender, Framing Genre, and he has co-edited Sexing the Maple: A Canadian Sourcebook, dedicated to Jane Rule, and in memory of David Reimer.

Referring to texts by Lee Maracle, SKY Lee, Linda Svendsen, Wayde Compton, Michael Turner, Caroline Adderson, June Rule, Nancy Lee and Marie Clements, Peter Dickinson has contributed 'Notes towards a Resident Reading of Vancouver Writing' as a chapter in Downtown Canada: Writing Canadian Cities (UTP 2005), edited by Justin D. Edwards and Douglas Ivison. One of Dickinson's stories appears in his friend Dennis Denisoff's 1993 anthology Queeries: An Anthology of Gay Male Prose, the first such collection of its kind in Canada, launched at the Firehall Theatre as a benefit for the Little Sister's defence fund. Dickinson has recorded: "On 7 June 1990, after more than five years of systemic harassment in the form of regular detentions of books by Canada Customs, Little Sister's, the store's owners Jim Deva and Bruce Smyth, and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association filed a Statement of Claim in B.C. Supreme Court. In it they challenged Canada Customs' right, under Tariff Code 9956 and Memorandum D9-1-1 of the Customs Act, to exercise 'prior restraint' in seizing any book, magazine, film, or video materials believed to be obscene, as defined by section 163(8) of the Criminal Code of Canada. Little Sister's maintained that the 'prior restraint' clause, which forced the importing business to prove that individually seized items were not obscene, violated the right to freedom of expression guaranteed under section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Further, Little Sister's argued that Canada Custom's routine targeting of a lesbian and gay bookstore violated its owners' personal right to equal treatment under the law (section 15 of the Charter)."

BOOKS:

Here is Queer: Nationalisms, Sexualities and the Literatures of Canada (UTP 1999).

Screening Gender, Framing Genre: Canadian Literature into Film (UTP 2006).

Sexing the Maple: A Canadian Sourcebook (Broadview 2006). Edited with Richard Cavell.

Word Stages, Local Audiences: Essays on Performance, Place, and Politics (Manchester University Press, 2010).

[BCBW 2011]