Please enable javascript to view this page in its intended format.

Queen's University

Sam McKegney


Note: Sam McKegney will be on sabbatical from July 2011 to July 2012


phone:613-533-6000 ext. 74388


Department of English
Watson Hall, room 435
Queen’s University
Kingston, ON K7L 3N6

Research Interests

Indigenous literatures, contemporary Canadian literature (as well as its precursors), Indigenous governance and its pursuit through art, multiculturalism as an ideal and in practice, hockey culture, masculinity theory, and literary activism.

Cultural Studies Courses

ENGL 873* Topics in Cndn Lit. III:"carrying the burden of peace":

    Exploring Indigenous Masculinities through Literature

Department: English Term Available: Fall 2013 Instructors: Sam Mckegney

In the language of the Kanien kehaka or Mohawk, the most common translation for the English word “warrior” isrotiskenhrakete, which means literally “carrying the burden of peace.” Kanien kehaka theorist Taiaiake Alfred explains: “The word is made up of roti, connoting “he”; sken in relation to skennen, or “peace”; and hrakete, which is a suffix that combines the connotations of a burden and carrying.” Rotiskenhrakete is not simply an identity formulation but a social role; it doesn’t so much individualize as identify connection through absorption and synecdoche; it suggests what onedoes as much who one is.

Ironically, the image of the Mohawk warrior has been mobilized in popular Canadian culture to represent forms of Indigenous hypermasculinity delinked from contemporary community concerns and absorbed into a non-Indigenous representational tradition in which Indigenous male characters vacillate among stereotypes of the noble savage, the bloodthirsty warrior, and the drunken absentee. In a contemporary moment saturated by such dehumanizing and decontextualized simulations, and at a time in which traditional Indigenous male roles and responsibilities have been obfuscated by colonial dispossession and other factors, this course will examine the social function of depictions of Indigenous masculinities in recent literature and film. We will employ masculinity theory and contemporary Indigenous literary theory to study poems, novels, life-writings, films, and oral tales by Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, with an eye to how these sources represent, foment, and/or intervene in contemporary crises of Indigenous masculinity. The reading list will include works by authors like Gregory Scofield, Richard Van Camp, Jeannette Armstrong, Daniel David Moses, Tom Porter, and Joseph Boyden. Course assignments will include oral teachings and a major written project, the parameters, scope, and execution of which will be determined by the class using consensus decision-making.

Note:  Course website


Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000