Deena Rymhs joined the Institute of Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice in 2009, and she is cross-appointed with the Department of English at UBC. Her book, From the Iron House: Imprisonment in First Nations Literature (2008), examines the prison’s role in post-contact Indigenous history. Drawing on prison memoirs, residential school narratives, prison serials, and collections of prisoners’ writing, this book looks at indigenous authors’ re-inflection of a Western autobiographical tradition.
Deena is currently working on her next SSHRC-funded book, Directing Traffic: Roads, Mobility, and Violence in Indigenous Literature. This project explores racialised and gendered experiences of mobility through a selection of writing and art by Marie Clements, Marilyn Dumont, Tomson Highway, Joseph Boyden, Richard Van Camp, Rebecca Belmore, Shelley Niro, Dana Claxton, annie ross, and Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas. Bringing spatial theory into conversation with Indigenous histories and vernacular practices, this book and its associated archive will provide a larger audit of mobility, risk, land use, territory disputes, and the social and cultural impacts of industry on First Nations communities.