Whiteness, the Gaze, and Transdifference in Contemporary Native American Fiction

‘Whiteness, the Gaze, and Transdifference’ looks at representations of whiteness in four novels by contemporary Native American authors Louise Erdrich, Gerald Vizenor, Craig Womack, and Sherman Alexie. Up to this date, it is the first book-length study dedicated to indigenous perspectives on the phenomenon of racial whiteness in US society. It moves beyond well-established, often stereotypical approaches to Native American fiction and reads it as speaking to basic questions concerning legal and social conditions in the United States at large. A flexible and newly coined concept of the gaze as potentially accessible to all members of a hierarchically structured society is instrumental in tracing the power relations between white and indigenous characters as they are presented in the novels. The concept of transdifference helps address renegotiations and redefinitions of the boundaries of race and other categories of identity.

Joanna Ziarkowska in: Polish Journal for American Studies, Vol. 7 (2013), 227ff