Summer 2024 - GSWS 318 B100

Special Topics in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies (4)

Indigenous Literature and Film

Class Number: 3151

Delivery Method: Blended


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 6 – Aug 2, 2024: Wed, 2:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    30 units, including three units in GSWS.



A specific theme within the field of gender, sexuality, and women's studies, not otherwise covered in depth in regularly scheduled courses, will be dealt with as occasion and demand warrant.


We Are the Best Survivors: Introduction to Gender in Indigenous Literatures and Film

Kai Minosh Pyle (baawiting nishnaabe / rivyer ruuzh michif ) asks “What kinds of gender roles were present before colonization? Likewise, such calls raise questions about the nature of tradition: What does it mean for something to be traditional? How are certain practices and ideas determined to be traditional? Is being traditional reason enough for us to follow certain paths? If not, how do we determine what is the best pathway into the future?” By creating narratives that centre Indigenous ways of knowing, Indigenous writers, artists, and filmmakers counteract colonial stereotypes. Analyzing how colonization “straightened” Two-Spirit, femmes and women’s roles will enable students to understand and appreciate Indigenous peoples’ continuing resurgence and resilience.



For more detailed information please see the GSWS website:


  • Regular Attendance and Participation 15%
  • Monkey Beach novel and film comparison (4 pages) 25%
  • Paper Proposal (4 pages) 25%
  • Final Paper (8 pages) 35%


Note: This is a literature and film course, so be prepared to discuss these genres. We will not be positioning Indigenous peoples in a deficit model but rather through a lens of resistance, resilience, and anti-colonialism.

A Note on Emotional and Difficult Subjects

This course deals with a number of challenging and emotionally-charged issues, and some students may find the content unexpectedly stressful, especially around the discussion of ongoing colonization. Readings and films may include violence, including sexual violence. Please contact me if you have concerns about course content.



John, Jessica. Bad Cree 9781443465489

Pico, Tommy. Nature Poem

Robinson, Eden. Monkey Beach 9780676973228

Whitehead, Joshua. Jonny Appleseed 9781551527253


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at:

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university.


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the term are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.