Picture of Nancy Van Styvendale

Nancy Van Styvendale B.A., Hon. (Winnipeg), M.A. (Simon Fraser), Ph.D. (Alberta)

Adjunct Professor, USask; Associate Professor, Faculty of Native Studies, U of Alberta

Associate Member in English

Research Area(s)

  • Indigenous North American Literatures
  • Community-based teaching and research
  • Prison literature
  • Discourse analysis
  • Trauma theory and discourses of recovery and healing


Str8Up and Gangs: The Untold Stories. Ed. Fawn Einarson, Allison Piché and Nancy Van Styvendale. Saskatoon: Hear My Heart Books Ltd., 2012.

Narratives of Citizenship: Indigenous and Diasporic Communities Unsettle the Nation-State.  Ed. Aloys Fleischmann, Nancy Van Styvendale and Cody McCarroll. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 2011.  

The Im/possibility of Recovery in Native North American Literatures.  U of A dissertation (2010).  Available through the University of Saskatchewan's Indigenous Studies Portal.

"The Trans/historicity of Trauma in Jeannette Armstrong's Slash and Sherman Alexie's Indian Killer."  Studies in the Novel 40.1-2 (2008): 203-223.

"Longing for Recognition: Reading the Economies of Masculinity and Mourning in Sahar Khalifeh's Wild Thorns."  Masculinity in Middle Eastern Literature and Film.  Ed. Lahoucine Ouzgane.  Routledge, forthcoming.

"Naming as Performative Re-membering in Eden Robinson's 'Queen of the North.'"  Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies 9.4 (2002): 93-104.

Selection of Publications (by Year)

  • , Sarah Buhler and Priscilla Settee. "Teaching and Learning About Justice Through Wahkohtowin". Annual Review of Interdisciplinary Justice Research 4 (2014): 182-210.

Teaching & Supervision

Indigenous literatures, community service-learning, interdisciplinary approaches, Indigenous pedagogy

Dr. Van Styvendale teaches a range of undergraduate courses in Indigenous literatures (ENG 335.3, ENG 242.3, ENG 338.3), as well as Honours seminars and graduate courses in the area. She also teaches an interdisciplinary class in community engagement (INCC 201.3: Dynamics of Community Involvement), which provides students with the opportunity to partner with a range of community-based organizations in the core communities of Saskatoon. She is interested in supervising graduate students in the areas of Indigenous North American literatures; community-engaged literary scholarship or community service-learning; and/or prison writing/representations of carceral space. Her teaching philosophy is informed by Indigenous and feminist pedagogies.


Indigenous Indigenous North American Literatures aboriginal community-based scholarship discourse analysis prison literature trauma theory and discourses of healing

Nancy Van Styvendale is a white settler scholar who researches and teaches in the field of Indigenous literatures, with particular commitments to Indigenous prison writing; penal abolition; arts-based programs in prison; discourses of recovery and healing; and community-engaged/community-based education. Nancy is involved in a number of collaborative, community-driven teaching and research projects, including Inspired Minds, a creative writing program offered to incarcerated people in Alberta and Saskatchewan jails/prisons. She is a founding moderator, along with Vicki Chartrand, of the Abolition Network, an online community of activists and scholars dedicated to imagining a world beyond prisons and carceral culture more broadly.

Nancy Van Styvendale teaches and researches in the field of Indigenous North American Literatures. Her work theorizes discourses of recovery, homecoming, and healing in Indigenous literatures, including works by Joseph Boyden, Tomson Highway, Maria Campbell, Jeannette Armstrong, Sherman Alexie, Janet Campbell Hale, James Welch, and Richard Wagamese. Her background in performativity and trauma theory has informed her published work on the trans/historicity of trauma in Indigenous literatures, and her expertise in gender and racial melancholia (Butler; Cheng) has shaped her analyses of loss in relation to subject and community formation. She is very interested in urban Indigenous literatures, and specifically in texts that imagine the city as a vibrant site of Indigenous identity and community activism. Most recently, she has become interested in Indigenous prison literatures, and in the link between incarceration, creativity, and social justice.

As an activist-scholar, Dr. Van Styvendale is interested in the intersection of literary study and community engagement, and she is involved in a number of collaborative, community-based teaching and research projects. The first of these is "Inspired Minds," a creative writing program at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre, which is run in collaboration with the Aboriginal Cultural Coordinator at the jail. The second is "Wahkohtowin" (which means "kinship" in Cree), a collaborative teaching and research project with faculty members Priscilla Settee (Native Studies) and Sarah Buhler (Law), as well as Str8Up (an organization for exited gang members) and Oskayak High School. Dr. Van Styvendale has co-published an article on the later project in the Interdisciplinary Journal of Justice Studies. She is currently working on a publication on the role of art in the Idle No More movement, and is co-editing a collection on community service-learning in Canada.

Education & Training

B.A. Honours (University of Winnipeg, 2001); M.A. (Simon Fraser University, 2003); PhD (University of Alberta, 2010)

Awards & Honours

  • Award for Community Engaged Teaching and Scholarship, awarded by University of Saskatchewan October 2014
  • College of Arts and Science Teaching Award (Humanities), awarded by University of Saskatchewan June 2013