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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

The University of Alberta Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2012
Author lives in Ontario
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    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

Editorial Reviews

"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]

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

Reviewer's Choice

"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]

"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

"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