Mandy Suhr-Sytsma

Mandy Suhy-Sytsma teaches in the Department of English and directs the Emory Writing Center at Emory University in Atlanta.

Self-Determined Stories: The Indigenous Reinvention of Young Adult Literature
Mandy Suhr-Sytsma
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous American; Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: University/College;

Reimagining Indigenous empowerment.

The first book of its kind, Self-Determined Stories: The Indigenous Reinvention of Young Adult Literature reads Indigenous-authored YA-from school stories to speculative fiction-not only as a vital challenge to stereotypes but also as a rich intellectual resource for theorizing Indigenous sovereignty in the contemporary era.

Building on scholarship from Indigenous studies, children’s literature, and cultural studies, Suhr-Sytsma delves deep into close readings of works by Sherman Alexie, Jeannette Armstrong, Joseph Bruchac, Drew Hayden Taylor, Susan Power, Cynthia Leitich Smith, and Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel. Together, Suhr-Sytsma contends, these works constitute a unique Indigenous YA genre. This genre radically revises typical YA conventions while offering a portrayal of Indigenous self-determination and a fresh critique of multiculturalism, heteropatriarchy, and hybridity. This literature, moreover, imagines compelling alternative ways to navigate cultural dynamism, intersectionality, and alliance-formation.

Self-Determined Stories invites readers from a range of contexts to engage with Indigenous YA and convincingly demonstrates the centrality of Indigenous stories, Indigenous knowledge, and Indigenous people to the flourishing of everyone in every place.


Ch. 1: A Rebel with a Community, Not Just Cause: Revising YA Power Dynamics and Uniquely Representing Indigenous Sovereignty in Jeannette Armstrong's Slash
Ch. 2: Indigenous School Stories: Alternatives to Multiculturalism in Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and Joseph Bruchac's The Heart of a Chief 
Ch. 3: Not Your Father's Pocahontas: Cynthia Leitich Smith's and Susan Power's Resistive Romance
Ch. 4: That's One Story: Reworking Hybridity through Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel's and Drew Hayden Taylor's Speculative Fiction
Coda: Alexie's Flight, Zobel's Wabanaki Blues, and the Future of Indigenous YA Literature

Additional Information
214 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"



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