Daniel Justice

Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Literature and Expressive Culture

Tier 2 - 2017-11-01
Renewed: 2017-10-01
The University of British Columbia
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council


Research involves

Analyzing Indigenous literature and other arts to understand how they help to enact diverse, healthy, and sustainable models of belonging.

Research relevance

This research will help us understand how diverse Indigenous literary and artistic expressions of kinship promote meaningful intellectual exchange, community building, and social justice.

Kinship in Indigenous Literature and Art

What does kinship have to do with Indigenous literary expression? What questions do Indigenous writers and other artists ask about belonging and its relationship to contemporary issues? How do their works extend, complicate, and challenge conventional notions of Indigenous community, especially across the species divide? And what might be the value of applying kinship as a critical category to different Indigenous relationships, exchanges, and experiences?

“Critical Kinship in Indigenous Literature and Creative Expression” is a project of Daniel Justice, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Literature and Expressive Culture. It focuses on Indigenous literary arts and the ways they pose complex questions about lived (and imagined) relations, while offering alternatives for how we might recognize, enhance, and strengthen those connections. Justice suggests the notion of “critical kinship” is a productive framework for understanding these questions. He argues that inclusive, context-specific ways of belonging are essential to the realization of justice-oriented decolonial possibilities for Indigenous peoples.

This project applies critical kinship to both human and other-than-human relations through creative practice. This allows Justice to consider the ways that diverse artists address existing understanding of kinship, and imagine new formations in order to address current intellectual, cultural and political priorities and concerns.

Ultimately, this work places creative expression alongside language, politics, history and ceremony as a necessary component of healthy and sustainable Indigenous peoplehood today.