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Political Science Civics & Citizenship

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

The University of Alberta Press
Initial publish date
Jul 2011
Civics & Citizenship
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    Publish Date
    Jul 2011
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    Feb 2012
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Examining various cultural products-music, cartoons, travel guides, ideographic treaties, film, and especially the literary arts-the contributors of these thirteen essays invite readers to conceptualize citizenship as a narrative construct, both in Canada and beyond. Focusing on indigenous and diasporic works, along with mass media depictions of Indigenous and diasporic peoples, this collection problematizes the juridical, political, and cultural ideal of universal citizenship. Readers are asked to envision the nation-state as a product of constant tension between coercive practices of exclusion and assimilation. Narratives of Citizenship is a vital contribution to the growing scholarship on narrative, nationalism, and globalization. Contributors: David Chariandy, Lily Cho, Daniel Coleman, Jennifer Bowering Delisle, Aloys N.M. Fleischmann, Sydney Iaukea, Marco Katz, Lindy Ledohowski, Cody McCarroll, Carmen Robertson, Laura Schechter, Paul Ugor, Nancy Van Styvendale, Dorothy Woodman, and Robert Zacharias.

About the authors

Aloys N.M. Fleischmann is a doctoral candidate in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta. He lives in Saskatoon.

Aloys N.M. Fleischmann's profile page

Nancy Van Styvendale is a white settler scholar and is an Associate Professor and Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta.


Nancy Van Styvendale's profile page

Cody McCarroll is a doctoral candidate in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta. He lives in Camrose, Alberta.

Cody McCarroll's profile page

David Chariandy lives in Vancouver and teaches in the Department of English at Simon Fraser University. His novel Soucouyant has received great attention, including a Governor General's Literary Award nomination for Fiction, a Gold Independent Publisher Award for Best Novel, and the Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist. His most recent novel, Brother, won the 2017 Rogers Writers' Trust of Canada Prize for Fiction.

David Chariandy's profile page

Lily Cho is an assistant professor in the Department of English at the University of Western Ontario.

Lily Cho's profile page

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

Jennifer Bowering Delisle (she/her) is the author of the lyric family memoir The Bosun Chair (NeWest 2017). She is a settler living in Edmonton/ Amiskwacîwâskahican/ Treaty 6 territory.


Jennifer Bowering Delisle’s lyric family memoir The Bosun Chair was published with NeWest press in 2017. She has a PhD in English, and is also the author of The Newfoundland Diaspora: Mapping the Literature of Outmigration. She joined the board of NeWest in 2018, and regularly teaches creative writing at the University of Alberta Faculty of Extension. She is a settler living in Edmonton/ Amiskwacîwâskahican/ Treaty 6 territory with her husband and two young children.


Jennifer Bowering Delisle's profile page

Sydney Iaukea's profile page

Marco Katz's profile page

Lindy Ledohowski is an educational leader and literary scholar. She serves on the board of trustees for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

Lindy Ledohowski's profile page

Carmen Robertson's profile page

Laura Schechter's profile page

Paul Ugor's profile page

Dorothy Woodman's profile page

Robert Zacharias is a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies at the University of Toronto. His research interests include migration literature, Canadian literature (with a focus on Mennonite literature), 18th-century studies, and critical pedagogy. His work has been published in Mosaic and Studies in Canadian Literature, as well as in the edited collections Embracing Otherness and Narratives of Citizenship.

Robert Zacharias' profile page


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Editorial Reviews

"The critical introduction by Fleischmann and Van Styvendale resonates with the newly released data from Statistics Canada 2008 on the Aboriginal population in Canada. Their study also draws on the Ethnic Diversity Survey released following the 2001 census. They wish to explore the themes of public and private, indigenous and diasporic resistance to assimilation. This is an excellent resource in Cultural Studies, Literary Criticism, and Citizenship." Anne Burke, The Prairie Journal

"...this volume comprises 13 essays in which established and rising scholars articulate the precarious social, political, and legal problems of citizenship faced by indigenous and relocated communities, mostly in Canada.... The contributors' collective keen perspicacity and epistemological acumen will surely make this a model text for postnational theory. Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty." R. Welburn, Choice Magazine

Narratives of Citizenship…presents several national perspectives on varying legal, cultural, and political constructions of citizenship… Outstanding contributions come from Daniel Coleman in ‘Imposing subCitzenship: Canadian White Civility and the Two Row Wampum of the Six Nations’ and David Chariandy in ‘Black Canadas and the Question of Diasporic Citizenship.’” [doi: 10.1093/ywes/mau008]

The Year’s Work in English Studies

"What unites the essays is a recognition that citizenship involves both legal definitions and emotional responses.... This collection reminds us how complex citizenship is, but citizenship at an individual level always is or was... [Narratives of Citizenship] has encouraged at least this reader (a historian) to seek out novels, look at photographs or listen to music that he was ignorant of, and has reminded him that broad generalisations obscure many individual differences. If only for that reason, with luck not merely an individual response, it deserves to be read and reflected upon. Artists and events may sometimes unsettle the nation-state but examined closely they almost always unsettle theories." Peter D. Fraser, Transnational Literature, May 2012 [Full article at]

Scholars of English literature generally and of Canadian literature in particular explore attitudes about citizenship by people who are close to the border of it, on one side or the other. They cover the iconography of the anti-citizen, the melancholic Canadian, envisioning indigenous citizenship, and race and the diasporic re/turn. Among the topics are enfolding citizenship and Mussolini's demographic politics, the home country as dead lover in Myrna Kostash's The Doomed Bridegroom, narration through photography in Hawai'i, and Black Canadians and the questions of diasporic citizenship. Reference and Research Book News

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