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Yvonne Swartz-Hammond

Program Committee, Lecturer

Of Canadian Blackfoot descent, Swartz-Hammond has been teaching and studying Native American literature for over ten years in both public high schools and higher education. Drawn to the perspectives of Race and Gender Studies, Swartz-Hammond hopes to bring greater awareness to the way Native voices can help enhance discussions outside of Native studies. Her work tends to examine epic narratives, particularly creative non-fiction forms of storytelling. Influenced by the work of Gerald Vizenor, Swartz-Hammond’s dissertation uses the term survivance to explore historical narration in 20th Century American texts in which the child’s experience of or witnessing trauma reveals conflict between family and state-sponsored identities. In addition to her work in Native and family studies, Swartz-Hammond continues to support the work of  Kathleen Ryan with the Appalachian Prison Book Project, a not-for-profit organization that sends books to imprisoned peoples. A forthcoming essay in West Virginia History, written with Ryan, reviews Work & Hope, an early 20th century journal written by prisoners in the West Virginia Penitentiary. Additionally, a forthcoming edited collection will publish Swartz-Hammond’s essay written about prison sex and gender in Orange is the New Black, called “Cleaning Up Your Act: Surveillance, Queer Sex, and the Imprisoned Body.”