In May, Sam McKegney’s Masculindians: Conversations about Indigenous Manhood was awarded an honorable mention in the Women’s and Gender Studies et Recherches Feministes (WGSRF) 2016 Outstanding Scholarship Prize.
The judges wrote the following citation to acknowledge what they called “the significant contribution of McKegney’s edited collection”:
“Masculindians makes a very significant contribution to the field of Women’s and Gender Studies. The collection elaborates on concepts and approaches that are in step with the work of Indigenous scholars like Kim Anderson, Lee Maracle, and Eva Tuck, among others, which aim to decolonize not only feminist theory, but also its methods. While Indigenous feminists have theorized representations and images of Indigenous women and communities, establishing connections between settler imaginaries and the material precarity and violence of Indigenous women’s lives, Indigenous masculinities are long overdue for critical analysis in ways that take seriously intersectional gender justice and colonizing uses and appropriations of human sexuality. The collection helps to clarify links between the gender imaginaries generated in the context of ongoing colonialism and the violence that plagues Indigenous men’s lives. In this sense, Masculindians aligns with the urgent need to theorize masculinities as a site of potential healing and transformation, drawing on theoretical approaches emerging from the field of cultural studies, as it engages in intersectional gender-based inquiry.
Contemporary conditions demonstrate how politically pressing it is to understand the ways in which heteropatriarchy operates through a spectrum of violent approaches to the construction of masculinities, by recognizing the connections between masculine subjectivities and larger issues of structural violence and oppression. Moreover, this book aligns itself with queer theory as it makes a concerted effort to understand masculinities as simulations, rather than expressions of either a presumed biological make up or fixed cultural identities. Masculindians is beautifully constructed through a series of conversations among a diverse group of scholars, artists, and elders and is organized into three inter-sections: Wisdom, Knowledge, and Imagination. The conversations themselves are very well articulated. They avoid simple explanations and instead look for complexity and nuance, while at the same time presenting ideas in prose that is very accessible reading for non-experts. Beyond making the necessary connections between heteropatriarchy and colonialism, Masculindians makes room for reimagining cultural identities and traditions, for creativity and more utopian aspirations.”
– Judges, Women’s and Gender Studies et Recherches Feministes (WGSRF) Outstanding Scholarship Prize
About the Book
Between October 2010 and May 2013, Sam McKegney conducted interviews with leading Indigenous artists, critics, activists, and elders on the subject of Indigenous manhood. In offices, kitchens, and coffee shops, and once in a car driving down the 401, McKegney and his participants tackled crucial questions about masculine self-worth and how to foster balanced and empowered gender relations.
Masculindians captures twenty of these conversations in a volume that is intensely personal, yet speaks across generations, geography, and gender boundaries. As varied as their speakers, the discussions range from culture, history, and world view to gender theory, artistic representations, and activist interventions. They speak of possibility and strength, of beauty and vulnerability. They speak of sensuality, eroticism, and warriorhood, and of the corrosive influence of shame, racism, and violence. Firmly grounding Indigenous continuance in sacred landscapes, interpersonal reciprocity, and relations with other-than-human kin, these conversations honour and embolden the generative potential of healthy Indigenous masculinities.
About the Author
Sam McKegney is a settler scholar of Indigenous literatures. He grew up in Anishinaabe territory on the Saugeen Peninsula along the shores of Lake Huron and currently resides with his partner and their two daughters in traditional lands of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples where he is an Associate Professor and Graduate Chair in the English Department at Queen’s University. He has published a collection of interviews entitled Masculindians: Conversations about Indigenous Manhood, a monograph entitled Magic Weapons: Aboriginal Writers Remaking Community after Residential School, and articles on such topics as environmental kinship, masculinity theory, prison writing, Indigenous governance, and Canadian hockey mythologies.
Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm, Taiaiake Alfred, Kim Anderson, Joanne Arnott, Joseph Boyden, Alison Calder, Warren Cariou, Jessica Danforth, Louise Bernice Halfe, Tomson Highway, Brendan Hokowhitu, Terrance Houle, Basil H. Johnson, Daniel Heath Justice, Janice C. Hill Kanonhsyonni, Lee Maracle, Neal McLeod, Daniel David Moses, Gregory Scofield, Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair, Adrian Stimson, Ty P. Kawika Tengan, Thomas Kimeksum Thrasher, Richard Van Camp