Proposed themes for this year’s upcoming issues


Vol. 31 No. 2 – Early July, 2018

Theme: Populism and the Erasure of History
Submission due date: May 15, 2018

Theme description

Populism rears its head from epoch to epoch, by appealing to gut instincts. It plays to the bleachers. It is immediately attractive. It operates in the “now.” The present. It negates the antecedents. The past. History is negated. Calixa-Lavallée, who crafted “O Canada,” included notions of “home and native land” as a statement of finality to establish the colonizing act as a benign civilizing performance. What home and what Native Land are we talking about? The Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation at Lakehead University, Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux, has much to say here. (

When the followers of Mr. Trump go gun(g)-ho, they wear MAGA hats. Make America Great Again. It is an anti-immigrant missive. What is negated here is that America’s greatness was built on the genocidal occupation of Native lands. America’s greatness was intimately bound by the toil of its immigrants who built its railroads, factories, bridges, shops and cities, and did research in its universities. The tallest structures on the East coast were built by the expertise of Mohawk and other Indigenous construction workers. Conservative U.S. analysts suggest that Indigenous nations had a population of 112 million in 1492 when Columbus arrived. Today, the Indigenous population in the U.S. is estimated at 5.2 million. When populists claim that “they’ve wasted the money given to them, they are alcoholic and illiterate,” they blithely overlook genocidal practices (e.g., smallpox being deliberately introduced through infected blankets, violent expropriation of Native lands and destruction of traditional livelihoods, and attempts at stripping Indigenous people of their heritage through residential schools). This is one illustration of how populism operates from a “common sense” perspective that is tantamount to erasure of the past.

Populism is not always of the alt-right variety. In other words it is not of the “Anthemic” (as in the Ayn Rand novella, Anthem) variety only. Left liberal politics also engage in identity-based populism. While not exactly pursuing an “us versus them” point of view, it indulges in narrow nationalism in the name of secularism, promoting one type of dictatorship over another. It puts an emphasis on overzealous environmentalism without understanding the trauma wreaked by colonization and underdevelopment. It is stridently identity oriented and overlooks inequality. Historical antecedents are thus bypassed or suppressed.

Vol. 31 No. 3 – Early October, 2018

Theme: Cinema – Beyond the Pale
Submission due date: August 15, 2018

Theme description

The fact that Montréal Serai has been inherently engaged in the practice of reviewing and critiquing cinema requires very little assertion. A quick sampling scan (see below) – to our own surprise – shows that we have covered a lot of territory. Some of our contributors have become well-known film-makers and actors and have made excellent documentaries themselves. Maya Khankhoje, Carlos Ferrand, Pietro Ferrua, Mirella Bontempo, the late Ozzie Bartolo, Federico Hidalgo, Mark Krupa, Julian Samuel and others have covered film festivals and done interviews with cinéastes and artists.

For our third issue of the year, we have invited Dipti Gupta, film lecturer and festival organizer in Montréal, to curate the theme “Cinema – Beyond the Pale.” Dipti has done extensive research on films in India and elsewhere.

The pale, as a noun, has nothing do with the adjective used in Procol Harum’s 1967 iconic rock song, A Whiter Shade of Pale. It has to do with a method of fencing off people, land or ideas by building wooden fences to keep away outsiders, undesirables or the unknown. The best-known examples were in Ireland, but the concept of the pale also applied in English colonial settlements in France, and in Imperial Russia where the Pale was used as a way of keeping the Jewish population enclosed and contained in a limited area.

A pale is a sharp wooden stave that is roped together to make a fence. To keep out renegades, renegade filmmakers and out-of-the-box thinkers. To take an alternate view, away from the clichés that abound in Hollywood and Bollywood, and on HBO and Netflix. But sometimes even those very sources produce some really extraordinary films.

Reviewers, filmmakers, actors and directors are invited to contribute. Montréal is an international hub for the zaniest and most intelligent film festivals, and special mention must be made of the indefatigable crew at Cinema Politica at Concordia University.


Vol. 31 No. 4 – Early January, 2019

Theme: The Literature Issue: Decolonizing Voices
Submission due date: November 15, 2018

[Theme description to come]




Montréal Serai is always soliciting new ideas and materials from outside its geographical purview, on arts/culture/politics. Articles should be well written and not exceed 3,000 words.

We accept reviews of all kinds, covering arts, politics, culture, music, literature and film. We also accept political cartoons. We’re open to new information and regard every submission with the utmost respect.

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Submission deadlines are stated above. Publication begins at the beginning of April, July, October, and January. Additional articles might be posted in booster issues depending on submissions received.

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