Roads, Mobility, and Violence in Indigenous Literature and Art from North America: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Roads, Mobility, and Violence in Indigenous Literature and Art from North America

1st Edition

By Deena Rymhs


166 pages

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Hardback: 9780367149819
pub: 2019-01-02
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pub: 2018-12-20
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Roads, Mobility, and Violence in Indigenous Literature and Art from North America explores mobility, spatialized violence, and geographies of activism in a diverse archive of literary and visual art by Indigenous authors and artists. Building on Raymond Williams’s observation that "traffic is not only a technique; it is a form of consciousness and a form of social relations," this book pulls into focus racial, sexual, and environmental violence localized around roads. Reading this archive of texts next to lived struggles over spatial justice, Rymhs argues that roads are spaces of complex signification. For many Indigenous communities, the road has not often been so open. Recent Indigenous writing and visual art explores this tension between mobility and confinement. Drawing primarily on the work of Marie Clements, Tomson Highway, Marilyn Dumont, Leanne Simpson, Richard Van Camp, Kent Monkman, and Louise Erdrich, this volume examines histories of uprooting and violence associated with roads. Along with exploring these fraught histories of mobility, this book emphasizes various ways in which Indigenous communities have transformed roads into sites of political resistance and social memory.

Table of Contents


1. Mobility and its Disenchantments in Marie Clements’ The Unnatural and

Accidental Women and Burning Vision

2. Idling No More: The Road in Tomson Highway’s The Rez Sisters

3. Gridlock: Mobility and Subjection in Marilyn Dumont’s Vancouver Poems

4. "the road is its own humiliation": Leanne Simpson’s "Road Salt," "Leaks,"

"ishpadinaa," and "How to Steal a Canoe"

5. "I wanted the highway": Richard Van Camp’s "Dogrib Midnight Runners"

6. Kent Monkman’s The Big Four as Automobiography

7. Across Borders: Louise Erdrich’s Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country




About the Author

Deena Rymhs (Ph.D. Queen’s University, 2004) is an associate professor of English at the University of British Columbia. She is author of From the Iron House: Imprisonment in First Nations Writing (2008) along with numerous published essays on Indigenous literature, Indigenous visual art, and ecocriticism. Her research has been funded by two national SSHRC grants, and she was awarded a Sproul Fellowship at University of California, Berkeley in 2016-17.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in World Literatures and the Environment

Routledge Studies in World Literatures and the Environment

Since the dawn of human artistic and cultural expression, the natural world and our complex and often vexed relationships with the other-than-human have been essential themes in such expression. This series seeks to offer an encompassing approach to literary explorations of environmental experiences and ideas, reaching from the earliest known literatures to the twenty-first century and accounting for vernacular approaches throughout the world. In recent decades, it has become clear that highly localized, non-Western forms of literary expression and scholarly analysis have much to contribute to ecocritical understanding—such studies, as well as examinations of European and North American literatures, are encouraged. Comparative treatments of literary works from different cultures, cultural expression in various media (including literature and connections with visual and performing arts, ecocinema, music, videogames, and material culture), and interdisciplinary scholarly methodologies would be ideal contributions to the series. What are the lessons regarding human-animal kinship that can be gleaned from indigenous songs in Africa, Amazonia, Oceania, the Americas, and other regions of the world? Which discourses of toxicity in the urban centers of contemporary East Asia and the post-industrial brownscapes of Europe and America might gain traction as we seek to balance human and ecological health and robust economies? What are some of the Third World expressions of postcolonial ecocriticism, posthumanism, material ecocriticism, gender-based ecocriticism, ecopoetics, and other avant-garde trends? How do basic concepts such as "wilderness" or "animal rights" or "pollution" find expression in diverse environmental voices and become imbricated with questions of caste, class, gender, politics, and ethnicity? The global circulation of culturally diverse texts provides resources for understanding and engaging with the environmental crisis. This series aims to provide a home for projects demonstrating both traditional and experimental approaches in environmental literary studies.

Series Editors:

Scott Slovic, University of Idaho, USA

Swarnalatha Rangarajan, Indian Institute of Technology Madras

Previous Editors:

Matthew Wynn Sivils, Iowa State University, USA

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