Book chapter
Open access

“Anishinaabe Mino-Bimaadiziwin in Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam"

ContributorsSkibo-Birney, Bryn
Published inResearch Journeys in/to Multiple Ways of Knowing, Editors Markides, J. & Forsythe, L., p. 8
PublisherNew York : DIO Press
Publication date2019

This paper argues that reading Margaret Atwood's post-apocalyptic novel, MaddAddam, through the theoretical lens of the Anishinaabe philosophy of Mino-Bimaadiziwin, or “the way of the good life,” highlights the complex means by which the novel is entirely composed upon the idea and necessity of interconnectivity, using it as a structuring device, a central thematic, and a means of plot resolution (Rheault 140). Critics have approached the novel (and the trilogy) from a variety of Euro-American philosophies, but with little input from Indigenous philosophies; in contrast, this paper argues that Mino-Bimaadiziwin clarifies MaddAddam's inventive use of discontinuous narrative, time, and multi-voiced discourse, as well as the novel's reliance on inter-species interconnectivity to resolve the plot. Subsequently, MaddAddam offers a sustained critique of, and alternative to, ingrained Euro-American ontologies of rigid binaries, linear time, and human exceptionalism. At the same time, the theoretical framework of Mino-Bimaadiziwin provides a concrete, comprehensive, and underrepresented approach to engage the issue of interconnectivity in the novel. As a result, this paper aims to participate in the necessary and valuable act of decolonizing academic ontologies by emphasizing the importance and need for Indigenous philosophies and ontologies in critical theory.

  • Atwood
  • Canadian Literature
  • Anishinaabe
  • Ojibwe
  • Indigenous
  • Indigenous Studies
  • Speculative fiction
  • Posthumanism
  • Posthuman
  • Apocalypse
  • Apocalyptic
  • Dystopia
Citation (ISO format)
SKIBO-BIRNEY, Bryn. “Anishinaabe Mino-Bimaadiziwin in Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam’. In: Research Journeys in/to Multiple Ways of Knowing. New York : DIO Press, 2019. p. 8.
Main files (1)
Book chapter (Accepted version)
  • PID : unige:115453

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