Remembering Vancouver's Disappeared Women: Settler Colonialism and the Difficulty of Inheritance

By Amber Dean

© 2015

Between the late 1970s and the early 2000s, at least sixty-five women, many of them members of Indigenous communities, were found murdered or reported missing from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. In a work driven by the urgency of this ongoing crisis, which extends across the country, Amber Dean offers a timely, critical analysis of the public representations, memorials, and activist strategies that brought the story of Vancouver’s disappeared women to the attention of a wider public. Remembering Vancouver’s Disappeared Women traces “what lives on” from the violent loss of so many women from the same neighbourhood.

Dean interrogates representations that aim to humanize the murdered or missing women, asking how these might inadvertently feed into the presumed dehumanization of sex work, Indigeneity, and living in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. Taking inspiration from Indigenous women’s research, activism, and art, she challenges readers to reckon with our collective implication in the ongoing violence of settler colonialism and to accept responsibility for addressing its countless injustices.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 216 pages
  • Illustrations: 14
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 0.8in x 9.3in
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SKU# SP003355

  • PUBLISHED DEC 2015

    From: $22.46

    Regular Price: $29.95

    ISBN 9781442612754
  • PUBLISHED DEC 2015

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    Regular Price: $60.00

    ISBN 9781442644540
  • PUBLISHED JAN 2016

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    Regular Price: $29.95

Quick Overview

Dean interrogates representations that aim to humanize the murdered or missing women, asking how these might inadvertently feed into the presumed dehumanization of sex work, Indigeneity, and living in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver.

Remembering Vancouver's Disappeared Women: Settler Colonialism and the Difficulty of Inheritance

By Amber Dean

© 2015

Between the late 1970s and the early 2000s, at least sixty-five women, many of them members of Indigenous communities, were found murdered or reported missing from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. In a work driven by the urgency of this ongoing crisis, which extends across the country, Amber Dean offers a timely, critical analysis of the public representations, memorials, and activist strategies that brought the story of Vancouver’s disappeared women to the attention of a wider public. Remembering Vancouver’s Disappeared Women traces “what lives on” from the violent loss of so many women from the same neighbourhood.

Dean interrogates representations that aim to humanize the murdered or missing women, asking how these might inadvertently feed into the presumed dehumanization of sex work, Indigeneity, and living in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. Taking inspiration from Indigenous women’s research, activism, and art, she challenges readers to reckon with our collective implication in the ongoing violence of settler colonialism and to accept responsibility for addressing its countless injustices.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 216 pages
  • Illustrations: 14
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 0.8in x 9.3in
  • Reviews

    “Using a rigorously interdisciplinary approach, Remembering Vancouver’s Disappeared Women offers a thoughtful, reflexive feminist account of how Vancouver’s ‘missing women’ live on and reverberate through the present.”


    Adele Perry, Department of History, University of Manitoba

    “A decade in the making, this book is a fine-grained, ethically minded, and passionately argued act of commemoration.  With tenderness, verve, and theoretical rigour, Amber Dean insists that present-day legacies of gender-based settler colonial conquest are continuously re-enacted, with bloody consequences.  Interrogating paintings, videos, photographs, posters, and poetry through her feminist-decolonial-queer lens, Dean unleashes a fierce, urgent imperative to become ‘inheritors’ of what lives on, rather than ‘bystanders’ to multiple losses. Her arguments supply precious fuel for national inquiry into disappeared and murdered Indigenous women in Canada, and globally.”


    Becki L. Ross, Department of Sociology and Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice, University of British Columbia

    “Dean’s work is an ambitious and ground-breaking examination of how our re-telling of stories affects our visceral responses to violence; she provokes her readers to contemplate how we are implicated in these acts of terror.”


    Deanna Reder, Departments of First Nations Studies and English, Simon Fraser University
  • Author Information

    Amber Dean is an assistant professor in the Gender Studies and Feminist Research Program and the Department of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University.

  • Table of contents

    Introduction: Inheriting What Lives On

    1. The Present Pasts of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

    2. Following Ghosts: Different Knowings, Knowing Differently

    3. Looking at Images of Vancouver’s Disappeared Women: Troubling Desires to “Humanize”

    4. Shadowing the “Missing Women” Story: “Squaw Men,” Whores, and other Queer(ed) Figures

    5. Memory’s Difficult Returns: Memorializing Vancouver’s Disappeared Women

    Conclusion: Reckoning (for the Present)

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