Travelling Knowledges: Positioning the Im/Migrant Reader of Aboriginal Literatures in Canada


280 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-88755-681-7
DDC C810.9'897




Brendan F.R. Edwards is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History
at the University of Saskatchewan.


Renate Eigenbrod was born, raised, and formally educated in Germany. She
immigrated to Canada with her family as an adult, eventually taking up
her current post as professor of Aboriginal literature at the University
of Manitoba. Travelling Knowledges is her highly personal account of
reading and critiquing Aboriginal literature from the privileged
position of a Euro-Canadian outsider.

Drawing upon her German doctoral dissertation and with a view to
demonstrating the complexities of Native literature, Eigenbrod assesses
the writing of Jeanette Armstrong, Ruby Slipperjack, Basil Johnston, and
Lee Maracle, among other contemporary Aboriginal writers. Using
migration as a central metaphor, she seeks to address issues of cultural
literacy, the positioning of non-Aboriginal literary criticism, and the
construction of boundaries between Native and non-Native literatures.

Eigenbrod’s highly personal writing style makes for a disjointed and
sometimes alienating read. However, her book does provide non-Aboriginal
Canadians with a useful reminder that their approach to Native
literature should not be merely library-based; that any fair critiquing
of Aboriginal writing should be contextualized by an acknowledgement and
awareness of the colonial history of Aboriginal peoples in Canadian
society; and finally, that Euro-Canadian readers/critics need to
approach Native literature by first abandoning any notions of linear and
dualistic thinking, so that they can come to terms with the complicity
of colonization.

Although perhaps too personalized to be wholly balanced, Travelling
Knowledges is nonetheless an engaging text for students of Native


Eigenbrod, Renate., “Travelling Knowledges: Positioning the Im/Migrant Reader of Aboriginal Literatures in Canada,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024,