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Tessera was founded in 1981 as result of conversations among its founding editors, Barbara Godard, Daphne Marlatt, Kathy Mezei and Gail Scott at a York University conference on feminist literary theory in Canada. Their goal was to foster the development of new modes of writing both creative and critical texts which was being pioneered in Quebec. Tessera
began publishing in 1984 out of Simon Fraser University and Stong College at York University. The first four issues of Tessera appeared as special issues of already established periodicals, "Doubleness in language" (Room of one's own); "Reading as writing/l'ecruture comme lecture" (La nouvelle barre du jour); "fiction/theorie" (Canadian fiction magazine) and "The state of feminist criticism/la situation de la theorie litteraire feministe"(Contemporary verse II). Between 1988 and 1993, Tessera explored poststructuralist theory in conjunction with feminist poetics in such issues as "Translating women" (1989) and "Performance/transformance" (1991). In 1993, a new editorial collective was formed by Katherine Binhammer, Jennifer Henderson and Lianne Moyes. Adding "feminist interventions in writing and culture" to the journal's title, the new collective invited contributors to include cultural studies and began to profile feminist visual artists such as Ginette Legare, Joanne Todd and Jamelie Hassan on its covers and in portfolios included within the journal. Since 1988, Tessera has been an independent publication appearing twice a year in a book-size format, printed at Coach House Printing in Toronto, and supported by grants from the Canada Council and the Ontario Arts Council.


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