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Countering Displacements

The Creativity and Resilience of Indigenous and Refugee-ed Peoples

edited by Daniel Coleman, Erin Goheen Glanville, Wafaa Hasan & Agnes Kramer-Hamstra

contributions by Subhasri Ghosh, Jon Gordon, Catherine Graham, Maroussia Hajdukowski-Ahmed, Mazen Masri, Jean McDonald & Pavithra Narayanan

The University of Alberta Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2012
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The essays in this collection explore the activities of two populations of displaced peoples that are seldom discussed together: Indigenous peoples and refugees or diasporic peoples around the world. Rather than focusing on victimhood, the authors focus on the creativity and agency of displaced peoples, thereby emphasizing capacity and resilience. Throughout their chapters, they show how cultural activities-from public performance to filmmaking to community arts-recur as significant ways in which people counter the powers of displacement. This book is an indispensable resource for displaced peoples everywhere and the policy makers, social scientists, and others who work in concert with them. Contributors: Catherine Graham, Subhasri Ghosh, Jon Gordon, Maroussia Hajdukowski-Ahmed, Agnes Kramer-Hamstra, Mazen Masri, Jean McDonald, and Pavithra Narayanan.

About the authors

After finishing high school in Ethiopia, Daniel Coleman earned university degrees at the University of Regina and the University of Alberta. He now holds the Canada Research Chair in Critical Ethnicity and Race Study in the English department of McMaster University. Daniel Coleman is a leading researcher in the depiction of immigrant men in Canadian literature. He has won the John Charles Polanyi Prize for his study of how literary texts produce and reinforce categories of cultural identification such as gender, ethnicity and nationality. His critically acclaimed book, Masculine Migrations: Reading the Postcolonial Male in "New Canadian" Narratives, published in 1998 by University of Toronto Press, is considered the foundational Canadian work in the field. While being a bahir-zaff throughout his childhood brought Daniel Coleman the pain of never fully belonging, it also gave him the immeasurable benefits and insights of an intercultural life. Several of his essays on his missionary childhood have appeared in magazines and journals. "The Babies in the Colonial Washtub," included in a revised form in The Scent of the Eucalyptus, won a Silver Medal in the National Magazine Awards. 

Daniel Coleman's profile page

Erin Goheen Glanville is a PhD Candidate in English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University. She lives in Vancouver.

Erin Goheen Glanville's profile page

Wafaa Hasan recently completed her PhD in English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University and was founding Associate Director for the Symposium for the CRC on Diversity in Canadian Literary Cultures. She lives in Toronto.

Wafaa Hasan's profile page

Agnes Kramer-Hamstra is Professor of Literature in the Department of English at St. Stephen's University. She lives in St. Stephen, New Brunswick.

Agnes Kramer-Hamstra's profile page

Subhasri Ghosh's profile page

Jon Gordon (1979-2016) taught Writing Studies at the University of Alberta and at Athabasca University. He was the winner of the William Hardy Alexander Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (2012). He also taught at the University of Western Ontario, Maskwacis Cultural College, and at The King’s University.

Jon Gordon's profile page

Catherine Graham is a poet, novelist and creative writing instructor. She is the author of six acclaimed poetry collections, including The Celery Forest, a CBC Best Book of the Year and finalist for the Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry. Her Red Hair Rises with the Wings of Insects was a finalist for the Raymond Souster Award and CAA Poetry Award and her debut novel, Quarry, was a finalist for the Sarton Women’s Book Award for Contemporary Fiction and Fred Kerner Book Award and won the Miramichi Reader’s “The Very Best!” Book Award and an Independent Publisher Book Awards’ gold medal for Fiction. She holds an MA in creative writing from Lancaster University (UK). Her poems have been translated into Greek, Serbo-Croatian, Bangla, Chinese and Spanish and have appeared in The Malahat Review, Arc Poetry Magazine, Glasgow Review of Books, Exile Quarterly, The Fiddlehead, Poetry Daily, Poetry Ireland, Gutter Magazine and have been broadcast on BBC Radio Ulster, anthologized in The White Page / An Bhileag Bhan: Twentieth Century Irish Women Poets and The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing, Vol IV & V. A finalist for the Montreal International Poetry Prize, she has won the Arc Award of Awesomeness and her poems have been nominated for the 2020 National Magazine Award by Exile Magazine. She teaches creative writing at the University of Toronto where she won an Excellence in Teaching Award. A previous winner of the Toronto International Festival of Authors’ Poetry NOW, she leads their monthly book club and is also an interviewer for By the Lake Book Club.


Catherine Graham's profile page

Maroussia Hajdukowski-Ahmed (PhD) is an Associate Professor of French and Women's Studies at McMaster University. She is Principal Investigator at the McMaster Research Centre for the Promotion of Women's Health and has undertaken several health promotion projects with immigrant women. Her research interests include feminist theories, participatory action research, immigrant women and health and interdisciplinary research.

Maroussia Hajdukowski-Ahmed's profile page

Mazen Masri's profile page

Jean McDonald's profile page

Pavithra Narayanan's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"In Countering Displacements, eight brilliant essays focus on histories of displacement across the world, shedding light on the reality of people's everyday lives when fighting for the right to move or to stay.. This is a book like no other: where refugees' ongoing confrontation with authority, land exploitation, Indigenous self-determination and questions of citizenship are re-created in relation to one another, forming ways to creatively and collectively redefine statehood, nationality and legality." Ro Velasquez Guzman, Shameless, Spring 2013

"In addition to its unique assemblage of refugee and Indigenous voices, the most exciting aspect of this book is its envisioning of resistance through creativity. Authors include forms of resistance and affirmation ranging from creative works to policy-making to outright protest.... These eight divergent essays together comprise a collection that is genuinely evocative and courageous. In concluding, I will leave you with an inspirational statement, alluded to in my title, from Hajdukowski-Ahmed's writing. She says, 'creativity is an alchemy that can transform pain into art, testimony, and hope.' One after another, the chapters in Countering Displacements work to describe this alchemy, and to attest to the strength of those who practice it within their political and cultural struggles." Aubrey Hanson, The Goose 2013 Double Issue [Full review at]

"This collection provides a thoughtful response to a rising global issue. Throughout the collection there is an underlying presence of human rights rhetoric and although not explicitly stated, it is worth noting that the trend toward moving human rights out of juridical and legal frameworks to humanities based research is helpful in developing creative solutions to problems of displacement." Alexander Hartwiger, Transnational Literature, November 2012 [Full review at]

"...thoughtful and strongly humanitarian collection, highly recommended especially for college library anthropology, sociology, and cultural studies collections."

Reviewer's Choice

"Countering Displacements brings together citizenship studies, refugee studies, diaspora studies and indigenous studies to create new conversations.. It is a book that offers diverse and challenging reflections on a wide range of questions around dispossession, migration, and the resilience to remake lives. Everyone working on postcolonial studies will find something of interest here." Pamela McCallum, Chimo

Other titles by Daniel Coleman


A Biography of an Urban Place

by (author) Daniel Coleman

Beyond "Understanding Canada"

Transnational Perspectives on Canadian Literature

edited by Melissa Tanti, Jeremy Haynes, Daniel Coleman & Lorraine York
contributions by Michael Bucknor, Anne Collett, Pilar Cuder-Domínguez, Ana María Fraile-Marcos, Cristina Ivanovici, Milena Kalicanin, Smaro Kamboureli, Katalin Kürtösi, Vesna Lopicic, Belén Martín-Lucas, Claire Omhovère, Lucia Otrísalová, Don Sparling, Christl Verduyn & Elizabeth Yeoman

The Foreigner

A Tale of Saskatchewan

by (author) Ralph Connor
afterword by Daniel Coleman

Retooling the Humanities

The Culture of Research in Canadian Universities

edited by Daniel Coleman & Smaro Kamboureli

Narratives of Citizenship

Indigenous and Diasporic Peoples Unsettle the Nation-State

edited by Aloys N.M. Fleischmann, Nancy Van Styvendale & Cody McCarroll
contributions by David Chariandy, Lily Cho, Daniel Coleman, Jennifer Bowering Delisle, Sydney Iaukea, Marco Katz, Lindy Ledohowski, Carmen Robertson, Laura Schechter, Paul Ugor, Dorothy Woodman & Robert Zacharias

In Bed with the Word

Reading, Spirituality, and Cultural Politics

by (author) Daniel Coleman

White Civility

The Literary Project of English Canada

by (author) Daniel Coleman

ReCalling Early Canada

Reading the Political in Literary and Cultural Production

edited by Jennifer Blair, Daniel Coleman, Kate Higginson & Lorraine York
foreword by Carole Gerson

Scent of Eucalyptus

A Missionary Childhood in Ethiopia

by (author) Daniel Coleman

Other titles by Jon Gordon

Other titles by Catherine Graham

Other titles by Maroussia Hajdukowski-Ahmed