MIRI Researchers

Dr. Renae Watchman

Associate Professor, Indigenous Studies Program & English and Cultural Studies

Tódich’íi’nii éínishłị dóó Kinya’áanii báshíshchíín. Tsalagi éí da shichei dóó Táchii’nii éí da shinálí.

Dr. Watchman (Diné) is Bitter Water born for Towering House. She is Bird Clan (Cherokee) from her chei (maternal grandpa) and Red Running Through the Water from her nálí (paternal grandpa). She is a Diné (Navajo), whose family is originally from Shiprock, New Mexico. She earned her PhD in 2007 from Stanford University from the Department of German Studies, jointly with the Graduate Program in Humanities.

Dr. Watchman was formerly employed by the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona and most recently by Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta. Her research and teaching interests are in Indigenous literary arts, where she teaches Indigenous literatures and Indigenous film (local and global).

Dr. Watchman is finalizing a long-term project, tentatively titled: Tsé Bitʼaʼí (The Winged Rock): From Dislocation to Restoration in Visual & Literary Storytelling, which is a monograph about the monolith that distinguishes her home community. Situated in northwest New Mexico, within the Four Sacred Mountains, Tsé Bitʼaʼí means “winged rock” or “rock with wings” and is known as Shiprock Peak (or just Shiprock) to locals. Tsé Bitʼaʼí, the matriarchal monolith, is at the cultural and storied center of the ancient Anasazi and the contemporary Diné and is also a prominent landmark of “The Land of Enchantment.” The oral stories about Tsé Bit’a’í are pedagogical and experiential, and these teachings from creation can be mapped onto the monolith, giving historical and cultural context to Diné presence and resilience amid ongoing colonialism. Dr. Watchman’s book looks at visual and literary storytelling. In her free time, she enjoys watching movies and beading. She is working on an up and coming scholarly project for an invited workshop and keynote that fuses these interests. She will be focusing on the visual storytelling of beadwork and how she has beaded mountain stories.



2020    Indianthusiasm: Indigenous Responses. Editors Hartmut Lutz, Florentine Strzelczyk, Renae Watchman. Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

2019    Seminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies, special issue of Indigenous and German Studies, Editors Renae Watchman, Carrie Smith, and Markus Stock, vol. 55, no. 4, University of Toronto Press.

Book Chapters

2019    “Transforming Toxic Indigenous Masculinity: A Critical Indigenous Masculinities & Indigenous Film Studies Approach to Drunktown’s Finest” co-author, Robert Alexander Innes. Visions of the Heart. Oxford University Press, October 2019, pp. 126-141.

2016    “Response: Imagining Beyond Images and Myths.” Learn, Teach, Challenge: Approaching Indigenous Literatures. Editors Deanna Reder and Linda Morra. Ontario: Wilfred Laurier Press, 2016, pp. 215-220.

Journal Articles

2022    “Teaching Indigenous Film through an Indigenous Epistemic Lens.” Studies in American Indian Literatures (SAIL) Special Double Issue: How We Teach Indigenous Literatures edited by Michelle Coupal and Deanna Reder, vol. 34, numbers 1-2, Spring-Summer [Sept] 2022, pp. 112-134. 

2022    “Igniting Conciliation & Counting Coup as Redress” Studies in Canadian Literature, special issue of “Indigenous Literary Arts of Truth and Redress,” edited by Cynthia Sugars and John Ball, vol 46, issue 2, May 2022, pp. 213-233.

2022    Truscello, Michael and Renae Watchman. “Blood Quantum and Fourth Cinema: Post- and Paracolonial Zombies.” Quarterly Review of Film and Video, Jan. 2022, pp, 1-23, doi: 10.1080/10509208.2022.2026273.

2020    “Reel Restoration in Drunktown’s Finest.” Native American and Indigenous Studies Journal (NAIS). Editors Kelly S. McDonough and Tsianina Lomawaima. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 7(2) (Fall 2020): pp. 29-54.

2019    “Introduction: Transdisciplinary Relationship Building: Indigenous and German Studies.” with Carrie Smith and Markus Stock (co-Editors). Seminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies, special issue of Indigenous and German Studies, vol. 55, no. 4, 2019, pp. 309-327.

2018    “Teaching and Contextualizing Indigenous Literatures: A Focus on Fourth World Literatures.” Special Issue on “Teaching Native Literature and Culture in Europe.” Literatur in Wissenschaft und Unterricht. Editors Birgit Däwes and Kristina Baudemann. Kiel University, XLIX, Spring 2018, pp. 65-72.

Book and Film Reviews

2022    Rev. of The Incredible 25th Year of Mitzi Bearclaw directed by Shelley Niro, levelFilm, 2019 and Indican Pictures, 2021. Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS) Journal, edited by Kelly S. McDonough and Tsianina Lomawaima. U Minnesota Press, vol. 9, issue 2, Fall 2022, pp. 162-163.

2021    Rev. of A Mind Spread Out on the Ground by Alicia Elliott. Transmotion. Special Issue on Transgender, Two-Spirit, and Nonbinary Indigenous Literatures, ed. David Stirrup, vol. 7, no. 1 (August 11, 2021), pp. 229-237. https://doi.org/10.22024/UniKent/03/tm.1014

2018    Rev. of Diné Perspectives: Revitalizing and Reclaiming Navajo Thought, and Navajo Sovereignty: Understandings and Visions of the Diné People. by Lloyd Lee. Transmotion. Genocide Special Issue, ed. James Mackay. University of Kent, vol 4, no. 2 (Dec. 30, 2018), pp. 166-172.

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