Barbara Thompson Godard (1941-2010) was Professor of English, French, Social and Political Thought, and Women’s Studies at York University, where she also held the Avi Bennett Historica Chair in Canadian Literature.
With a B.A. from the University of Toronto and an M.A. from l’Université de Montréal, Dr. Godard completed her doctorate at l’Université de Bordeaux and began teaching at York in 1971 as a visiting assistant professor. She was hired into a tenure-track position in 1976. A prolific and collaborative scholar, she published eight books, 80 book chapters and 115 articles and catalogue entries. She translated the major writers of Québec feminism, including Nicole Brossard, Yolande Villemaire and Louky Bersianik. She also served as editor or on the editorial board of 22 journals. She was a founding co-editor of the feminist literary periodical Tessera, a contributing editor of Open Letter and The Semiotic Review of Books and the book review editor for Topia: A Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies . She also made longstanding contributions to Resources for Feminist Research , Voix et Images , and ECW, among others.
According to Gregory Betts in The New Canadian Encyclopedia, Godard “found or created bridges between formerly unallied literary communities. [Her] theoretical writings on translation, developing from her border-crossing approach to Canadian literary criticism, proved to be instrumental in the creation of Translation Studies as an internationally significant field of study.”
Barbara Godard inspired her colleagues and students through her critical creativity and her unwavering commitment to interrogating and producing the conditions for full civic engagement in the university and in the public sphere.
On May 10, 2011 there will be a memorial in honour of Barbara Godard, featuring reminiscences by her former colleagues, collaborators, students and friends, including Ray Ellenwood, Frank Davey, Arun Mukherjee, Jody Berland, Gary Genosko, Marcia Connolly and Trish Salah. Lisa Sloniowski will also speak about the library’s efforts to incorporate Barbara’s personal library into our existing holdings and screen a small experimental film by Shana MacDonald, featuring footage of Godard’s library before it was transported to the library.
To mark the event, the Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections as well as the Scott Library will be putting together a small display of items recently donated by Barbara’s son Alexis Godard following her death, including her extensive personal library and final donation of archival papers.
To read more about Godard’s legacy, see YFile’s obituary here: http://bit.ly/eccUQ0 .
There is an online collection of digital material related to a 2008 tribute to Godard available on YorkSpace here: http://bit.ly/mvIesh.
Issues of Tessera can be found on York’s digital journals space here : http://bit.ly/jAIIP5 .
Additionally, the most recent update to Godard’s archival finding aid is available on the archives website here: http://bit.ly/fMHG8s.
[Update 1 June 2011: After several comments, the archives has removed the photograph of the official opening of the Nellie Langford Rowell Womens' Studies Library from this posting. The consensus was that the woman on the far right was not Barbara Godard. The archives regrets this error of identification and the photographic metadata has been changed.]