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Bruce Carroll. The Early-Modernization of the Classical Muse Chair: Lorenzo Garcia Jr. (British and Irish Literary Studies).

The Early-Modernization of the Classical Muse juxtaposes ancient and Renaissance uses of the Muse to retrieve her from the status of mere literary convention. I draw on Hans Blumenberg’s ‘reoccupation’ (Umbesetzung) thesis, which locates in philosophy concerns originally raised in myth, to argue that the poet’s relationship with his Muse, as the perceived source of his art form, was always somehow ontological (ontology: the theory of human being). In the pre-literate, pre-philosophical invocations of archaic figures like Homer and Hesiod, I locate the ‘ontological stirrings’ in which the poet identifies his self through his at times troublesome and combative dependence on the Muse. By early modernity, a philosophical era, the classical Muse’s appearances figure radical and imminently modern shifts in a still-persistent essentialist ontology. Here poets assert a re-orientation to the human person, a new ontology centered not on humanity’s quondam dependence on nature, the deified genetrix overseeing all sublunary production (including poetry), but on an independent human production, so that techne, or art, becomes not only the prime factor in the recognition of human being but also the vehicle for its re-orientation. A chief contribution of this dissertation is its identification of an ontological poetics. Impossible outside of poetic language, this poetics employs inversions of conceit and discontinuous rhetorical structures to raze the vertical scales that placed causes (like nature or the Muse) over their effects (the poet and poetry). Ontological poetics forwards instead a horizontal ontology based on lateral connections among the poet-speaker, his beloved poetic subject, and the poem itself. A critical novelty of this project is that unlike in any of Blumenberg’s examples of reoccupation, these analyses must consider the return of a myth within the era of philosophy. Because the appearances of the Muse in early modern poetry embody the basic ontological issues that the era of philosophy originally inherited from her, her early modern situation acts as an acid test for Blumenberg’s thesis.

Dan Cryer. A Model Citizen: Ethos, Conservation, and the Rhetorical Construction of Aldo Leopold Chair: Michelle Hall Kells (Rhetoric and Writing).

This dissertation explores the changing, multifaceted ethos of Aldo Leopold (1887-1948), one of the twentieth century’s most versatile environmental communicators. Drawing on scholarship in environmental rhetoric, rhetorical genre theory, citizenship theory and ecofeminism, I argue that throughout his career Leopold offered evolving rhetorical versions of himself as ideals of ecological behavior to be emulated by his readers. The chapters analyze Leopold’s ethos as it was constructed in his early-career writings in the New Mexico Game Protective Association Pine Cone, a wildlife protection broadsheet; in the Report on a Game Survey of the North Central States, his first book; in reports and articles he wrote during the Wisconsin deer irruption debates of the early 1940s; in the essays of A Sand County Almanac, his best known work; and in its current manifestation on the property of the Aldo Leopold Foundation in central Wisconsin. By focusing on these key rhetorical moments in Leopold’s ethos formation, this study reveals the sources from which his ethos arose, including nineteenth and early-twentieth century conservation movements and scientific literature, and the specific environmental crises to which he responded. In revealing, on one hand, the rhetorical strategies that excluded or alienated key stakeholders in the issues on which he wrote, and, on the other, his remarkable ability to connect with a range of audiences in a variety of genres, this study shows that Leopold can serve as both a model and cautionary tale for environmental communication in our own time.

Kathryn  Denton. Beyond the Lore: A Research-Based Case for Asynchronous Online Writing Tutoring Chair: Chuck Paine (Rhetoric and Writing).

Asynchronous online tutoring is a highly contested form of writing tutoring. Critics of asynchronous online tutoring argue that it is ineffective, running contrary to traditional notions of what writing tutoring should look like and how it should be practiced. Supporters of asynchronous online tutoring advocate for its inclusion in the tutoring canon, suggesting that it should be one of many formats available to students. Noticeably absent from this ongoing debate is a grounding in research, as there are few current contributions to this field of research, with the exception of works, most notably, Beth Hewett’s The Online Writing Conference. This project responds to the current climate surrounding asynchronous online tutoring interactions, offering a research-based exploration of asynchronous online writing tutoring. This work represents a move away from the question “Is asynchronous online tutoring effective?” and towards “What are some of the ways tutors and students are engaging in effective asynchronous tutoring interactions?” “What support can we provide to promote effective asynchronous tutoring interactions?” and “How can we present asynchronous online tutoring to students in such a way that they can decide whether it works for them?” Chapter one offers the historical context of the debate on asynchronous online tutoring and offers an overview of the works that have been published to date. Chapter two lays out the qualitative research design created to explore the phenomenon of asynchronous online writing tutoring. Chapter three explores the research findings, arguing that the findings counter critiques of asynchronous online tutoring as ineffective and disengaging on the part of tutor and student alike. Chapter four concludes by looking to future possibilities for how we can further enhance our understanding of asynchronous online writing tutoring through research, how we can begin to understand best practices for asynchronous online tutors, and how we can support tutor development through training. Finally, drawing on the concept of directed self-placement, I advocate for a model of self-evaluation that empowers students to choose the tutoring format that works best for that individual student, given that student’s needs.

Lindsey  Ives. Case Not Closed: Whiteness and the Rhetorical Genres of Freedom Summer Chair: Michelle Kells (Rhetoric and Writing).

This dissertation examines the role of whiteness and its relationship to identification in rhetorical representations of the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer Project. Texts examined at length include recruitment materials, media coverage, pamphlets, and letters produced during the project, as well as retrospective representations of Freedom Summer in popular films and literature. Drawing upon Walter Beale’s pragmatic theory of rhetoric and Krista Ratcliffe’s concept of rhetorical listening, it analyzes five perspectives on the hundreds of volunteers, most of whom were white college students, who traveled to black communities across Mississippi that summer in order to register voters, teach in Freedom Schools, work in community centers, and engage in other special projects. Analyzing the perspectives of white volunteers, black activists, white southerners, national media, and history, this dissertation reveals that the volunteers are variously constructed as admiring outsiders, neo-abolitionists, pseudo-scientists, community members, critical pedagogues, cherished children of the privileged classes, communist invaders, soldiers, missionaries, inconsequential extras, and catalysts for critical reflection. It concludes by suggesting ways in which contemporary teachers of rhetoric and composition might use selected Freedom Summer texts in the classroom in order to generate conversations about topics such as community engagement, interracial advocacy, and college students’ writerly agency.

Erin Murrah-Mandril. Out of Time: Temporal Colonization and the Writing of Mexican American Subjectivity Chair: Jesse Aleman (American Literary Studies).

This dissertation studies the ways that Mexican Americans experienced time as a colonizing force in the US Southwest between 1848 and 1940. I argue that Mexican American writing of this period exposes oppressive iterations of time within US modernity and often points toward possibilities of decolonizing time. The project focuses on political and economic constructions of US progress, which denied Mexican Americans presence within US temporal imaginings. My analysis moves from material to ideological temporal constructions as I analyze forms of time concerning wage labor, railroad operations, investment capitalism, judicial processes, congressional proceedings, Manifest Destiny, commodity fetishism, intellectual production, historical narrative, and sociological discourse. I historically situate Mexican American experiences of US time through María Amparo Ruiz de Burton’s depiction of capitalist forms of time in The Squatter and the Don and Miguel Antonio Otero’s dependence on the rhetoric of progress in his three-volume autobiography. They expose the way US forms of time like Manifest Destiny, free market capitalism and judicial proceedings depend upon the production of underdevelopment and inequity while championing the virtues of progress and development. The first two chapters also position the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo as a source of colonized time because it initiated a system of retroactive law and placed former Mexican citizens in a liminal “mean time” of delayed political enfranchisement in order to dispossess Mexican Americans of their land and social standing. I go on to argue that Mexican American literature moves differentially across multiple forms of time to critique temporal domination by drawing on the scholarship of Chela Sandoval and Mikhail Bakhtin in my analysis of Jovita González and Margaret Eimer’s Caballero. Throughout the dissertation, I explore the ways that literary recovery of Mexican American texts both participates in and rejects dominant forms of linear progressive time. The final chapter engages this issue through a close analysis of Adina De Zavala’s History and Legends of the Alamo as a model for decolonizing time through practices of recovery and archivization that engage Derridian specters through intertextual dialogue with the past.

Diana Noreen Rivera. Remapping the U.S. "Southwest": Early Mexican American Literature and the Production of Transnational Counterspaces, 1885-1958 Chair: Jesse Aleman (American Literary Studies).

This dissertation brings to light a legacy of Mexican American spatial resilience that troubles Anglo-centric constructions of the Southwest, its history, and cultural formation as a byproduct of westward expansionism. This project argues that early Mexican American writers offer an alternative paradigm of transnationalism for understanding the literature, culture, and geography of the U.S. Southwest as it has been imagined in Anglo American cultural production about the region. For early Mexican American writers, the Southwest was not a quaint literary region but a space of historic transnational zones of contact, commerce, and cultural geography where they maintained degrees of agency. I examine the writings of María Amparo Ruiz de Burton, Fray Angélico Chávez, Federico Ronstadt, and Américo Paredes for their "transnational counterspaces." I use this term, which draws from spatial theories by Henri Lefebvre and Edward Soja, to describe their vocalizations of the Southwest produced in the face of their respective Anglo counterparts such as Willa Cather and other members of the Santa Fe and Taos writers colonies, Walter Noble Burns, J. Frank Dobie, and Walter Prescott Webb. I take an interdisciplinary approach dialoging with Chicano/a, borderlands, and American literary studies within a historical framework to chart how early Mexican American writings reclaim the region by mapping transnational heritages belonging to Mexican American and Chicano/a communities.


Genesea Carter. The Literacies of Literary Texts: Rhetorical Bridges between English Studies Disciplines and First-Year Writers Chair: Charles Paine (British and Irish Literary Studies, Rhetoric and Writing).

The Literacies of Literary Texts: Rhetorical Bridges Between English Studies Disciplines and First-Year Writers seeks to blend rhetoric, composition, and literary discourses to illustrate how the subfields may engage in interdisciplinary collaboration and conversation. These conversations are important. For English studies to remain relevant in an increasingly business-minded model of higher education, departments must reassess their approaches and methods. As one way to reimagine English studies, I advocate for English studies’ return to rhetoric. In an increasingly complex world, Departments of English can become indispensible by using rhetoric to prepare their students for to rhetorically adapt to diverse discourse communities. Rhetoric and composition faculty can use literary characters as examples of rhetorical awareness and discourse community membership; such literary examples may prove useful if rhetoric and composition faculty hope to create buy in among their literature and creative writing colleagues. In order to show how literary characters can be presented as examples, I read Bleak House, Dracula, and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There as illustrative texts demonstrating how community membership depends on the rhetorical knowledge of literacy practices. Moving beyond the analytical, I apply my readings of Bleak House, Dracula, and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There to the first-year composition classroom. The characters of Jo, Dracula, and Alice illustrate the struggle between privileged and subordinate literacies, insider and outsider practices, and this praxis serves two purposes: (1) To help rhetoric and composition faculty see how the literacies of literary texts can be used to communicate rhetorical awareness, and (2) how literary texts can help first-year students understand the relationship between discourse community membership and rhetorical knowledge. This project’s two pronged purpose aims to foster interdisciplinarity between rhetoric and composition, literature, and creative writing faculty as well as envision new ways to best prepare students for the literacies they will encounter as professionals, academics, and citizens.

Gregory Haley. A Hermeneutic Composition Pedagogy: The Student as Self, Citizen, and Writer in Dewey, Arendt, and Ricoeur Chair: Michelle Kells (Rhetoric and Writing).

This dissertation is primarily concerned with describing a hermeneutic theory of composition pedagogy for the purpose of developing socially engaged, self-reflective, and critically conscious citizens of a democracy. This work examines the intersection of higher education and civic responsibility that has been the foundational motive of academics since the first schools were opened by Isocrates and Plato. The question now, as it has been since the days of Plato, is how to educate new citizens to become informed, engaged critics of their environments for the purpose of maintaining a healthy self governance and preserving the democratic ideals of equality, justice, and freedom. The foundational theorists for this work are John Dewey, Hannah Arendt, and Paul Ricoeur. Their hermeneutic understanding of human learning development and motivation towards action are crucial for understanding how to help students become self-reflective, socially engaged members of a free society. While each of these theorists and their views on educational pedagogies have been studied in depth, there has not been a study that examines the common heuristic of these three philosophers and the implications of a combined theory of hermeneutics for composition pedagogy.

Christine  Kozikowski. Private Matters: The Place of Privacy in English Legal Records, Romances, and Letters, 1300-1500 Chair: Anita Obermeier  (Medieval Studies).

As a result of the growth of cities and the rise of a merchant class in later medieval England, the desire for privacy began to emerge alongside an increase in personal consciousness. In my dissertation, I examine the place of privacy in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century England by juxtaposing elements of the private such as access, intimacy, and withdrawal in historical documents such as court records and marriage customs against canonical literature including, but not only, Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and Malory’s Le Morte Darthur. My study explains the dynamics between privacy and place in urban property, romance beds, marriage, and widowhood by utilizing a theoretical framework developed by modern geographers; expanding on their ideas, I consider how the locative, the material, and the social influenced people’s notions of privacy, and how the literature reflects those ideals. In these narratives, the way that people react to expectations of place, both geographical and social, simultaneously suggests a self-conscious political positioning and a rejection of the dominant ideology that determined proper behavior. In my research, I put court records, romances, and letters in conversation with one another to analyze an unexplored discourse on medieval privacy. My dissertation reshapes our understanding of medieval place, space, and identity and redefines the historical narrative by identifying privacy and individuality as cultural elements of the late Middle Ages.

Jennifer Nader. Narratives of Hostility and Survivance in Multiethnic American Literature, 1850-1903 Chair: Gary Scharnhorst (American Literary Studies).

In Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation, Mary Louise Pratt coined the term "contact zones," which she defined as "social spaces where disparate cultures meet, clash, and grapple with each other, often in highly asymmetrical relations of domination and subordination-like colonialism, slavery, or their aftermaths as they are lived out across the globe today" (4). The United States of America has a dismal history of racially violent encounters between Anglos and indigenous populations, with other settlers, and those who immigrated there. Many of America’s practices, policies, and historical events provide evidence of acts spurred by racism against non-Anglo groups, but evidence of this also exists throughout US media sources. Specifically, from the middle of the nineteenth century to its close, the majority of mass print media written by and controlled by the Anglo American population reveals an excess of discussion and debate regarding non-Anglo races, their places in Anglo society, and how to answer the race “question” of each non-Anglo group. Yet, while violent rhetoric encouraging racially charged mass murder from newspapers and novels dominated the Anglo publishing industry, several non-Anglo American authors used the Anglo publishing industry during the latter half of the nineteenth century to resist the dominant narratives of the time. In effect, these authors challenge what Gerald Vizenor refers to in Manifest Manners: Postindian Warriors of Survivance as the “literature of dominance” (3). This dissertation considers minority author use of the Anglo publishing industry to respond to the lies and misrepresentations of minorities, racially charged events, and violent encounters printed regularly in newspapers, novels, and other forms of US print media, locally and nationally, with the aim of exposing and excoriating racially charged mass murders of minority groups. These authors achieved this goal both through newspaper articles and through the inclusion of newspaper articles in their literary texts in order to debunk the falsehoods perpetuated by the numerous Anglo publishers at the time, but also through the re-telling of events as minority groups saw and experienced them. In turn, I argue each text works to challenge Anglo readers’ apathy and willing acceptance of such misinformation by enacting various forms of survivance in order to repudiate the victimry that popular Anglo novels of the time depicted in order to perpetuate societal norms and expectations. This includes works by Charles Chesnutt, S. Alice Callahan, and John Rollin Ridge. Finally, I look at Chinese American responses to calls for their extermination and forced deportation/exclusion throughout the latter half of the nineteenth century. Chinese Americans went directly to Anglo-dominant yet friendly newspapers to refute the numerous fabrications many American newspapers printed. These include responses from Norman Asing (Sang Yuen), and Hab Wa and Tong A-chick, as they set the precedent for Chinese American response, as well as Kwang Chang Ling, Yan Phou Lee, and Lee Chew, several of whom wrote in response to Dennis Kearney’s extreme anti-Chinese movement in California.

Tommy Pierce. Diverse College Writers and the Conversation on Error and Standardization Across the Curriculum Chair: Michelle Kells (Rhetoric and Writing).

Standardization and the treatment of error is a central concern in the increasingly diverse college composition classroom. Writing teachers who wish to prepare students for success in the disciplines, but do not wish to be gatekeepers or guardians of a privileged variety of English, face a dilemma. This dissertation points toward an approach to error and standardization that avoids the prescriptive vs. descriptive dichotomy of whether to treat or not to treat error through. I also advocate bringing a perspective informed by sociolinguistics, second language writing, and discourse studies to the forefront of the WAC conversation on diverse student writers and error. In Chapter One, “Beyond the Tipping Point,” I illustrate the ever-increasing diversity of pre-college and college writing classes, and consider the key characterizations of developmental and second language writers. In Chapter Two, “Theories and Approaches to Diversity and Standardization,” I discuss the current college writing context as part of the historical trend toward the democratization of higher education. This consideration of previous influxes of diverse groups into higher education lays the groundwork for considering current notions about diversity and standardization. Chapter Three, “The Contested Terms of College Writing,” outlines my research methods. I use qualitative research methods within a hermeneutic approach in order to describe attitudes toward diverse student writers and standardization prominent among writing across the curriculum scholars. Chapter Four, “What We Talk about When We Talk About Diverse Student Writers,” provides a description of my analyses. A prominent tendency in the field of Writing Across the Curriculum is to construct diversity through the lens of error. The WAC Journal, as the premiere journal in the field, is indexical of this representation, and so was the logical choice for sampling the conversation. In Chapter Five, “A Reasonable Approach to Error,” I present the range of responses most prominent in the group of texts that were analyzed for this project, and outline my key findings, which suggest that many researchers interested in WAC support an approach to error that balances the need for correctness with the need for innovation. Finally, Chapter Six summarizes my key findings, and points to Sophistic tendencies in the WAC conversation on diverse student writers and error.

Roy Turner. “A Moment of Magic”: Coyote, Tricksterism, and the Role of the Shaman in Rudolfo Anaya’s Sonny Baca Novels Chair: Kathleen Washburn (American Literary Studies).

In Rudolfo Anaya’s Zia Summer, Rio Grande Fall, Shaman Winter, and Jemez Spring, the protagonist—Sonny Baca—undertakes a murder investigation that ultimately leads him to confront Raven, a mysterious figure whose acts of violence threaten the social fabric of Albuquerque, the American Southwest, and the entire world. In battling Raven, Sonny comes to realize that both he and his foe have the ability to access a spiritual power that takes root in the myths and belief systems of various cultures, including Sonny’s Chicano community, Native American peoples of the region, and ancient civilizations throughout the world, from which Sonny draws power as he becomes a shaman and healer. This dissertation explores how Anaya presents Sonny’s transformation as a model for self-empowerment in the face of colonial and neo-colonial violence. Tracing postcolonial theory, border studies, and contemporary discussions of trickster figures in Native cultures, this study argues that Anaya confronts both the genre expectations of the detective novel and the implicit racism and discrimination that continue to pervade cross-cultural interactions in the Southwest.


Paul Formisano. A River of Voices: Confluences and Cross-Currents in the Discourse of the Colorado River Chair: Gary Harrison (American Literary Studies, Rhetoric and Writing).

This dissertation argues that the Colorado River and its watershed face a crisis of representation as privileged nineteenth-century myths portraying the American West as a frontier, garden, and wilderness have limited an understanding of what and whom the river is for. It examines the contribution of “tributary voices” or the lesser known perspectives from the region to reveal new lines of thinking about this river and its surroundings as they engage the traditional views of the river shaped by these myths. The voices examined at length in this study include contemporary nature writer Craig Childs, recent female boating narratives by Patricia McCairen, Laurie Buyer, and Louise Teal, and AEURHYC, a Mexican water-users association from the Colorado Delta region. Through an interdisciplinary “watershed” approach that draws on ecocritical, bioregional, and rhetorical frameworks, this project considers how these tributary voices appropriate, complicate, and often reject the discourses and genres that have traditionally represented the river and watershed. Negotiating these conventional viewpoints, the tributary voices offer new lines of thinking that reveal the river’s importance to a broader range of stakeholders. As impending water shortages threaten the region, this dissertation initiates a much needed conversation about the role literary and rhetorical production has in shaping attitudes and behaviors toward the Colorado and its finite resources.

Stacey L.  Kikendall. The Visual Exchange: The Intersection of Vision, Gender, and Empire in Nineteenth-Century British Literature Chair: Gail Houston (British and Irish Literary Studies).

This dissertation examines key moments in fictional and autobiographical texts when gender construction and colonization intersect and create the possibility for reciprocal visual exchange between disparate people. In a visual exchange, the participants actively and meaningfully look at one another, at the same time acknowledging the other’s subjectivity. I argue that these moments hint at the subliminal utopian desire by the author, and perhaps the reader, for a more equal, even democratic, community. I study a range of texts written during the long nineteenth century by male and female authors, including Sydney Owenson’s The Wild Irish Girl (1806), The History of Mary Prince (1831), Charles Dickens’s Martin Chuzzlewit (1844), and Olive Schreiner’s The Story of an African Farm (1883). Despite the rich scholarship in recent years on race and imperialism, gender, and the gaze as they are conceived in the nineteenth century, it is rare to find scholarship that examines the intersections of all three, and none of the texts I study have been the subject of this kind of intersectional analysis.

Marisa  Sikes. Conducting Women: Gender, Power,and Authority in the Rhetoric of French and English Conduct Literature of the Later Middle Ages Chair: Anita Obermeier (Medieval Studies).

Conduct and courtesy literature have a long history, its vernacular tradition extending back to the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. We are familiar with modern versions of this literature: Ann Landers’ advice column, women’s magazines, and even modern books that tell us about etiquette. My dissertation examines English and French conduct literature of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries addressed to women. These texts build rhetorical authority in various ways. At one end of the spectrum of rhetorical authority there are texts that build credibility through charismatic and familial authority; on the other end there are those that build it through abstract means such as the use of allegory and visionary inspiration. I locate these different approaches in relationship to other medieval literary traditions such as the recording of visions, the generation of mental images as a means of mnemonic practice and meditation, the debate on women, and the use of exempla, a prominent rhetorical feature of pastoral medieval sermons. My initial chapters explain my theoretical approach and examine conduct literature written by women for women. Christine de Pizan’s Book of the Three Virtues reveals that medieval pedagogies directed at women are not always concrete and experiential for her text engages in visionary practice, employs allegory, and self-reflective debate. Anne of France’s Lessons for Her Daughter relies on more familiar constructions of authority but is also part of a family tradition of royal instruction directed at children. In my fourth chapter I analyze the English translations of The Book of the Knight of La Tour Landry which were produced between 1422 and 1471 and in 1484. This male-authored text adopts a familiar, familial language of concern, but The Book also reflects the rhetoric of pastoral sermons as well as violent misogyny. My fifth chapter considers the anonymous, short Middle English poems narrated by a “Good Wife” along with a Middle Scots and an Anglo-Norman poem. These texts reveal the strictures on middle class female behavior and rely on concrete, specific details of physical objects and exempla; the Good Wife narrator presents herself as the mother of her audience, engaging the familial and charismatic aspects of rhetorical authority. The Anglo-Norman poem provides evidence that authority does not always reside within the mother figure in didactic literature, however, as the daughter in this poem speaks back to her mother. My final chapter considers how, despite the violence present in the Knight’s work, it and the works of Christine and Anne promote gynosocial relationships as a means of survival in medieval courtly society for women. My study questions modern assumptions about medieval understandings of gender and sexuality concerning medieval pedagogies. My work also historicizes the neuroscience debate over differences between the sexes in which Cordelia Fine’s Delusions of Gender participates by examining the pedagogical approaches directed at medieval women.

Ying  Xu. Across Lands: Double Consciousness and Negotiating Identities in Early Chinese American Literature, 1847-1910s Chair: Gail Hurley Houston (American Literary Studies).

This dissertation analyzes the works of three early Chinese immigrant writers (Yung Wing, Yan Phou Lee, and Wong Chin Foo) and two mixed race writers (Edith Eaton and Winnifred Eaton) in late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century North America in order to critique the formation of early Chinese American literature. Borrowing W. E. B. Du Bois’s construct of double consciousness and Amy Ling’s theory of between worlds, I argue that the complicated double consciousness exhibited in the works of these early immigrant writers demonstrates their across lands strategies of negotiating identities prior to and during the Exclusion Era (1882-1943). My formulation of what I call “across lands theory” focuses on the self-representations of Chinese and mixed race immigrants in their struggle to acquire a place in the United States as well as other countries while simultaneously coping with anti-Chinese regulatory laws. While they negotiate their identities across geographical terrains (China and the U.S.), they also construct their self-image across other terrains such as psychological, legal, discursive, and aesthetic ones with a range of responses that cannot be limited to just resistance and assimilation. Double consciousness is the dilemma immigrant writers face, and across lands strategies demonstrate their self-fashioning and negotiation of identity during the Exclusion Era. The first chapter of this dissertation analyzes the ways in which double consciousness is utilized by Yung Wing to construct his memoir as the text of a self-made man. I argue that Yung’s memoir revises the nineteenth-century cult of the self-made man to provide a prototypical model of autobiographical writing for the othered, racialized immigrant subject. The second chapter focuses on Yan Phou Lee’s autobiography and periodical writing and investigates Lee’s construction of difference in revising the stereotypical image of the Chinese in the late nineteenth century. I point out that the double consciousness shown in Lee’s works proves that he is, like Yung Wing, another across lands figure who negotiates “between worlds” in often sophisticated, complex, and nuanced ways. The third chapter focuses on complicated across lands strategies in Wong Chin Foo’s construction of Chinese American identity in relation to “the intelligent class of China” vis-à-vis “heathenism.” In this chapter, I argue that Wong’s periodical writing, translation, and political activities contribute to the project of constructing the new identity—Chinese American. My last chapter examines Edith and Winnifred Eaton’s writings in terms of acts of passing against a paradigm of resistance and acculturation. By studying Mrs. Spring Fragrance and a Japanese Nightingale in the Eatons’ works, I argue that their across lands strategy of utilizing and subversively undermining racial constructions of white American culture helps revise the abject Asian female body, including their own mixed race authorial bodies.


Ashley Lynn Carlson. Influence, Agency, and the Women of England: Victorian Ideology and the Works of Sarah Stickney Ellis Chair: Gail Hurley Houston (British and Irish Literary Studies).

This dissertation discusses the works of Sarah Stickney Ellis in the context of Victorian culture and argues that Ellis’s ideas about women, which have frequently been described as “anti-feminist” by twentieth and twenty-first century scholars, were often progressive and even proto-feminist. The first chapter discusses Ellis’s writings on education, where she argues that girls require moral, physical, and intellectual training. This chapter demonstrates that Ellis, though not necessarily radical, is more liberal than she has been given credit for in terms of her educational scheme for women. The second chapter focuses on Ellis’s views on courtships and engagements. Rather than persuading women to become meek and subservient wives, her recommendations for women before marriage clearly demonstrate that women should avoid matches where their own needs will not be met. She warns women away from self-sacrifice and instead emphasizes the importance of finding a man who will be able to fulfill his duties as a husband. Ultimately, she argues that women are better off remaining single than risking an unfortunate marriage. The third chapter focuses on Ellis’s efforts to enlarge a woman’s sphere of influence. Specifically, this chapter investigates the complex layers of rhetoric that Ellis uses to maintain an overtly submissive stance while subversively promoting female empowerment. This strategy, which frames Ellis’s most famous work, The Women of England, imitates the tactics Ellis suggests her readers might use with their husbands and other men. While consistently deprecating both herself and the role of women in general, she paradoxically argues that women are of utmost importance in Victorian society, and even assigns them more power than men. The final chapter examines Ellis’s temperance fiction. This chapter focuses on Family Secrets, a collection of temperance tales Ellis published in 1842. In these stories, Ellis disrupts the ideology of separate spheres by suggesting that this philosophy is a cause of alcoholism. Through stories about drunken men and women, Ellis shows that society’s arbitrary divide between public and private is dangerous. Thus, like her other writings, Ellis’s temperance fiction expands a woman’s sphere into the public arena. Simultaneously, she argues that men must participate in the domestic sphere.

Randall Lee  Gann. A More Virtuous Empire: The Ideology of Manifest Destiny in American Literature and Film Chair: Hector Torres (American Literary Studies).

This dissertation examines the historical origins of the ideology of Manifest Destiny and the effects of its transmission into American literature and film. I argue that though eruptions of Manifest Destiny repeat the idea of American exceptionalism, the semi-autonomous nature of the work of art works against the grain of these eruptions to show they are also symptomatic of the inability of the American State to reconcile the desire to be both a virtuous republic and a global empire. I begin with an analysis of the embedded notion of exceptionalism in John Winthrop’s A Model of Christian Charity and follow the trace of that same notion in Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence in order to establish an historical lineage of America’s exceptionalist narrative. I then argue that the ideas of exceptionalism and the divine mission of the American State become compressed into the concept of Manifest Destiny and, through the discursive acts of John Louis O’Sullivan and the United States Magazine and Democratic Review, American cultural production repeats the discourse of Manifest Destiny. A list of the authors that appeared in the Democratic Review virtually defines American Romanticism and under O’Sullivan’s editorial control the Democratic Review directly allied those authors with his politico-literary vision, which was informed by his belief that America was exceptional. I demonstrate how a novel like Herman Melville’s Moby Dick is a nodal point where an American exceptionalist discourse is transmitted into film vis-à-vis John Huston’s 1956 release of the filmic version of Moby Dick. Through a consideration of Rio Bravo (1959), and Lone Star (1998), my final chapter tracks eruptions of Manifest Destiny in the American Western film in order to show how changing formulations of American Exceptionalism gain traction in their time periods precisely because of the malleability of the exceptionalist narrative.

Leigh  Johnson. Domestic Violence and Empire: Legacies of Conquest in Mexican American Writing Chair: Jesse Aleman (American Literary Studies).

This dissertation posits that writers can symbolically represent domestic violence to critique unjust gender relations as well as iniquitous US policy toward Mexican Americans. I use the term domestic violence because it most closely describes the double voiced discourse women engage to critique communities that condone violence against women as well as a country that perpetrates violence against Mexican Americans within its borders. Put broadly, domestic violence refers to threats of sexual, emotional, or psychological abuse within the home. Furthermore, patriarchal control over women’s agency, sexuality, and mobility in turn-of-the-century texts also indicates domestic violence through social and historical conditions. Violence is especially evident throughout this project as women’s rights challenge patriarchal structures and civil rights challenge racist policies. Revealing the perilous gains of women and Mexican Americans, social backlash encourages explosions of domestic violence. For this reason, each chapter explores the historical and social contexts surrounding scenes of domestic violence. Mexican American women remain tenuously between the spaces of home and nation as they experience domestic violence from state and familial institutions. Because these women are not safe within their homes, they have to participate in a broader societal push to define, describe, and defend themselves against domestic violence. Their resistance comes with a price—women, especially women of color, who resist patriarchal violence may be seen as cultural traitors, exposing their men to criticism from dominant society. The first chapter shows how women’s speech both uncovers and masks narratives of domestic violence through allegory using the testimonios taken for the Bancroft project on California history. The second chapter examines how the historical romance genre incorporates scenes of domestic violence against women’s protected space in the home and nation. The third chapter reveals how representations of domestic violence within Mexico reflect colonial anxieties about conquest and domestic policy. American travel writers’ encounters with domestic violence in Mexico reflect the anxieties surrounding American entitlement to Mexico and the bodies of the people living there. The fourth chapter observes limitations on women’s ability to leave violent situations within the home or the nation. This chapter utilizes scenes by Mexican American men, as they write about (and blame women for) domestic violence. The fifth chapter celebrates women writers’ activism through literary motherwork. Though these texts, with the exception of the last chapter, precede the Chicano Movement, they are politically engaged in a struggle to define and defend la raza through their intellectual agendas.

Carolyn Kuchera. The Other Vanishing American: Disappearing Farmers in American Literature, 1887-1939. Chair: Gary Scharnhorst (American Literary Studies).

Beginning in the late nineteenth century, literary depictions of farmers borrow from the established trope of the “Vanishing American” Indian to portray farmers as disappearing before the forces of modern civilization. I argue that writing about farmers from this era ought to be approached as a type of extinction discourse: the rhetoric surrounding the decline of a race or culture. Extinction discourse, whether applied to the American Indian or to farmers, fuses mourning over a passing way of life with celebration of civilization’s progress. Farmers are portrayed as primitive figures, as fundamentally incompatible with modern civilization, in all of the fiction included in this study: Joseph Kirkland’s Zury (1887), Hamlin Garland’s “Up the Coolly” (1891) and “The Silent Eaters” (1923), John T. Frederick’s Druida (1923) and John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath (1939). While the works vary in their valuations of primitivism, alternately favoring the nostalgic or the progressive impulse, the farmer vanishes nonetheless. For the purposes of this study,“vanishing” signifies not so much a sociological fact as a representational act performed in response to a perceived loss.Literary constructions of the vanishing farmer are performative: they help produce the condition (disappearance) that they subsequently describe. The rhetorical origins of industrial agriculture are rooted in this disappearance. The developing reactions to the farmer’s “disappearance” and the varying rhetorical forms of those reactions are the focus of this study, which is contextualized through historical and sociological information. The divergent ideologies of nostalgia displayed in the fiction illustrate particular modern anxieties, while shadows or traces of Indian presence within these texts reveal a buried legacy of removal within Western expansion. This analysis also shows how portrayals of vanishing farmers often preserve the racialist logic of extinction discourse, wherein race contributes to extinction. The conclusion suggests a future direction for the literary analysis of farmers, arguing that they can be most productively approached as ghosts through Jacques Derrida’s theory of the “trace” and Toni Morrison’s notion of the shadow. With its focus on the decline, and sometimes disparagement, of agrarian America, this dissertation counters the dominant critical narrative that associates American virtue and civilization with rural values.


Cassandra Amundson. The Path to Personal Salvation: The Hermetic Trope of Self-Mastery in Shakespeare, Bacon, and Milton Chair: Barry Gaines (British and Irish Literary Studies).

My dissertation examines Renaissance authors’ investment in the Hermetic tradition. This tradition is based on the Hellenistic Egyptian philosophical-theological writings ascribed to Hermes Trismegistus, which emerged in parallel with early Christianity, Neoplatonism, and Gnosticism. The Hermetic tradition gained importance in the Renaissance with Marsilio Ficino’s translations and soon became an alternative avenue for the exploration in the spiritual conception of the “self” as divine, a conception previously closed off by medieval orthodox religious and secular traditions. I argue that principal figures in the Renaissance and Restoration—Shakespeare, Bacon, and Milton—were engaged in constructing this Hermetic mode of thinking to illustrate individuals’ ability and responsibility for “saving” themselves through the gnosis of self-discovery, the gnosis that emphasized living with and in the presence of God. The Hermetic discourse is well documented in the history discipline by such scholars as Lynn Thorndike, Frances Yates, and D. P. Walker. Yet, in the literary discipline, there have not been sufficient discussions for locating the influence of the Hermetism on Renaissance and Restoration literary authors. In this way, I fill the gap in Renaissance scholarship and classroom teaching by showing that these authors used rhetorical maneuvers and symbols to illustrate the Hermetic mode of thinking as a major defining feature in their arguments for a new epistemology.

Shannon McCabe. Anglo-Saxon Poetics in the Linguarum Veterum Septentrionalium Thesaurus Grammatico-Criticus et Archaelogicus of George Hickes: A Translation, Analysis, and Contextualization Chair: Timothy C. Graham (Medieval Studies).

In 1705, the last fascicle of the Linguarum Veterum Septentrionalium Thesaurus Grammatico-Criticus et Archaeologicus of George Hickes was published in Oxford. This monumental volume represented a major step forward in Anglo-Saxon studies. This study translates the most monumental chapter of the Thesaurus, Chapter 23. Although this chapter ―On the Poetic Art of the Anglo-Saxons,‖ represents the first sustained attempt to apply a critical and theoretical apparatus to Anglo-Saxon poetry, it is also concerned with attempts to sort out a ―purer‖ language from the various dialects represented in Anglo-Saxon manuscripts. Hickes directly addresses two major Anglo-Saxon forms in Chapter 23, ―pure Saxon,‖ and ―Dano-Saxonic,‖ the lesser of the two languages, because of its ―foreignness,‖ a key term for Hickes, who sought to separate out what he believed to be the true Anglo-Saxon from dialectal languages which he believed to have introduced ―abhorrent‖ elements into Anglo-Saxon poetry. Ultimately, this desire of Hickes to divine the ―purer‖ language with respect to the Anglo-Saxon reflects a more general eighteenth century anxiety about the nationalistic uses of language and the attempt to control and modify the language, beginning with Sir William Temple‘s essay On Ancient and Modern Learning, as well as the response to it by William Wotton in his Reflections Upon Ancient and Modern Learning, culminating in Jonathan Swift‘s ―A Proposal for Correcting, Improving and Ascertaining the English Tongue,‖ and Elizabeth Elstob‘s An Apology for the Study of Northern Antiquities. Especially important was the linking of language to national identity and issues of nation building, as with the establishment of the Académie Française in 1635. This anxiety manifests itself in Swift as an attempt to purge the English language of ―barbaric‖ elements, namely Germanic words and grammatical forms, placing him and his supporters in direct opposition to the antiquarian movement headed by George Hickes and the Oxford Saxonists.

Leah Sneider. Decolonizing Gender: Indigenous Feminism and Native American Literature Chair: Gary Scharnhorst (American Literary Studies).

An Indigenous feminist approach to Native literature reveals the ways in which Native authors attempt to build balanced relationships and conversations across cultures, nations, and histories. I explore ways that Native authors depict gender violence and male characters who, like Native women, negotiate colonization and assert sovereignty. Doing so offers a new way of reading Native literature that seeks to also decolonize our analytical approaches for similar use across academic disciplines and for practical applications within and outside of academia. I define Indigenous Feminism as the responsibility for the nurturance and growth of Native communities through storytelling as a communal process and action reflecting personal sovereign power. I focus on how these authors adapt traditional knowledge of social balance through ideological subversion. I read literary conventions as creating complementary and reciprocal relationships in order to develop critical awareness thus enacting an Indigenous feminist ideology. An author’s rhetorical and literary use of these principles attempts to create a balanced relationship between reader and author that simultaneously decolonizes readers’ minds. Reading constructions of masculinities in connection with complementarity and reciprocity discloses and helps to understand colonial gender violence thus asserting an Indigenous feminist decolonizing process that seeks to remove colonial ideological shackles. Thus, I read Native texts for a balanced distribution of power across relationships, specifically gender-based relationships and systems of power. This exploration of complementary and reciprocal relationships enables us to read literature as critical responses to gender violence and its effects on both Native men and women. These texts and their authors offer a way of seeing gender identity on a continuum based on both individual and communal needs. Furthermore, such an analysis allows for balanced dialogue needed to uncover a new understanding of shared experiences to effect social change. Therefore, a more inclusive Indigenous feminist perspective presents a new way of recognizing literature and storytelling as social activism, or attempting to affect social justice within the imaginations and ideologies of its readers.


Rebecca  Elizabeth Hooker. Righteous anger and the power of positive thinking: Early nineteenth-century African-American and Native-American racial uplift texts Chair: Gary Scharnhorst (American Literary Studies).

Early in the history of the United States, the practical concern with how to make constructive changes in the conditions endured by people of African and native descent became an urgent priority to many members of those races. The persistent need to make real change in the lives of people of color led many writers to deliver stinging critiques of the American hierarchies of race and class that left their people at the bottom of each of these categories and rendered them unable to overcome the stigma that accompanied their positions. The writers discussed in this project participated in, indeed helped to create an ideology and a methodology that would give people of color venues for effecting change in the social, political, and material conditions their people endured.

The roots of racial uplift lie in the early eighteenth-century, when writers of color first began to challenge the racial hierarchy established in America and encouraged their people to insist that their humanity guaranteed them the rights promised to white Americans following the Revolution. The intent of these initiatives was to improve conditions for all people of color. However, in the latter half of the nineteenth century, the reality of these efforts often conflicted with their ideal goals. Uplift as it was most broadly conceived hoped to influence the conditions of all people of the race, no matter what their individual circumstances might be. Yet these efforts often had the effect of reinforcing divisions within the race, creating an elite class that was put forth as evidence of race progress. The latter conception of uplift as the province of the "better" class replaced the more egalitarian goals espoused earlier in the movement's history. The writers in this project reflect this earlier moment in American history, when writers of color concerned themselves with ideas and strategies that would affect an members of a race, not just those whose economic or social status placed them above the concerns that plagued their less fortunate compatriots. African-American writers David Walker and Maria Stewart and native writer William Apess mark the beginning of a praxis of racial uplift that places value on all members of a race, not just those whose financial or social status marks them as elite. Although they have not yet been identified in this way, these writers are the first published practitioners of "racial uplift" in the United States.

Rachel Harmon. Daughters of Eve: Childbirth in Faulkner, Hemingway, and the real world Chair: Gary Scharnhorst (American Literary Studies).

The criticism concerning the works of William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway is copious, and the human truths within the works of these two authors are undeniable. Therefore, this study carves out a niche for criticism on a new and shared aspect of the authors and their texts: childbirth. Beginning in the nineteenth century, this study examines the works of three main female writers of the time, specifically their works dealing with childbirth. By examining these thematically linked works by Kate Chopin, Emily Dickinson, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, childbirth as a thematic legacy is grounded in the pioneering texts of these female authors. I then work to examine the event of childbirth in the texts of Faulkner and Hemingway, with a focus on a reading and interpretation of the event. By reading the event and not simply the mothers, this study expands the theme of childbirth to the realm of a community event. All characters involved with the act are provided equal examination. In addition to establishing childbirth as a community event within the literature, this study simultaneously seeks to utilize the depictions of childbirth and the wider readings of various characters associated with the event to complicate common character readings, especially along the lines of gender. In doing so, this study offers a more balanced, less misogynist reading of the texts, specifically in relation to the theme of childbirth. In viewing the scenes of childbirth through a more balanced lens, childbirth is unfettered to serve a more critical function in the text, advancing plots, complicating and developing characters, and channeling larger issues such as morality, race, and sexuality. Finally, this study seeks to meld the experiences of the fictive women with experiences of real women in order to offer a safe and effective framework for discussing the real world experiences of women, encouraging reflection, contestation, and action.

Katyna Johnson. Reframing narratives and reevaluating bodies: Incorporating disability into narratives Chair: Gary Harrison (British and Irish Literary Studies).

In Reframing Narratives and Reevaluating Bodies: Incorporating Disability into Narratives, I investigate the meanings assigned to disability in narrative art. I argue disability narratives challenge body-self relationships that change the stories we tell, change the way we think about the stories we tell, and quite possibly change society by telling tales people live. The chapters discuss memoirs and fiction that expand conceptions of disability from the vantage of blindness, autism, deafness, and differently-abled bodies. How we write about and live with disability can show us how narratives shape the body, how the body features in narrative or linguistic structures, how identity embodies culture, and how culture values the body. My analysis evaluates how disability may reframe characterization or the structural frame works of texts. Bodily difference may reposition how to read the events or dialogue within stories or how to reconsider the actions or the individual identities they project. Narratives can confine the disabled body to negative, limited associations, but some memoirs and texts re value the cultural references that bind disability, and thereby illuminate the social constructs placed on bodily variation. The stories I discuss address how cultures encode ability and validate certain perspectives, and they attest to the insidious nature of binary thinking to center one group and marginalize another. Disability exposes the unreliability of communication and cultural frameworks to form identities--in-and-out perspectives trap disabled bodies but disabled bodies position between values--in corp orating disability in narratives can disclose paradoxes and direct us to the permeability of linguistic and social negotiations. They demonstrate the necessity of reevaluating how we write about and address body variability and to grant space for bodily difference within cultures.

Michaelann Nelson. Voices of Glen Canyon: The influence of place on imagination and activism Chair: Michelle Kells (American Literary Studies).

This dissertation examines the textual representations of Glen Canyon that resulted from the damming of Glen Canyon in 1963, and an exploration of the relationship between texts and environmental activism. The work of Wallace Stegner, Eliot Porter, John McPhee, Edward Abbey, and Katie Lee is illustrative of what Lawrence Buell calls the cultivation of an "environmental imagination". This dissertation highlights the important contributions Glen Canyon literature has made to the larger field of environmental literature through examining the portrayal of Glen Canyon and the relationship between humans and the natural world. It is illustrative of the evolution of conservation ideology and the cultivation of a wilderness ethic. Glen Canyon literature demonstrates the development and influence of a conservation aesthetic that has been highly influential in galvanizing the public to support environmental initiatives.

The role that Glen Canyon literature has played in building support for the environmental movement has been overlooked in environmental histories and literary studies. However, the debate over the fate of the Colorado River in the 1950's and 1960's created a large coalition of environmental groups that were already established to aid in environmental debates by the time the public began to pay attention to contemporary environmental issues when Silent Spring was published in 1962. Environmental advocates, such as the Sierra Club, used the damming of Glen Canyon as a platform to disseminate larger ideas about the environment and man's relationship to it. I argue that Glen Canyon writing is exemplary and productive to contemporary environmental literary scholarship because it provides a unique opportunity to investigate how environmental ideology and writing techniques and tactics have evolved in the fifty years since the original dam debate. Glen Canyon writing is particularly fruitful to illustrate this evolution because it is one of the very few places where environmentalists have had an unremitting relationship to the place and the issues surrounding it for over fifty years.

Danizete  Ortega Martinez. The Chicana/o grotesque: National origins, subversive traditions, and bodies of resistance in U.S. southwestern literature Chair: Jesse Aleman (American Literary Studies).

My dissertation investigates the origins and influences of the Chicana/o grotesque and how it functions in its literature. The grotesque as an aesthetic category is usually associated with European art history and literary production that describes bawdy carnival culture, haunting landscapes, and gothic architecture and narrative. I define the Chicana/o grotesque as a subversive rhetorical gesture--or act of protest--against pervasive racial constructions generated both outside and inside the Chicana/o community; as an implicit figure in the emergence and success of post-national Chicana cultural production; and as a productive methodology within the Chicana/o body politic. By exploring the grotesque and its hemispheric connections to Latin America and the U.S. South, and by examining the familial resemblances between the European aesthetic, my project considers how the grotesque has its own lineage within a Chicana/o cultural history. I argue that the grotesque in Chicana/o literature--comically or repulsively incongruous and shocking characters, situations, and/or narrative structures--is most pronounced in textual representations of disembowelment, dismemberment, corpses, and (re)memberment. Through the metaphor of the body, Chicana/o authors provide radical textual representations that help us explore manifestations of alterity that result from ethnic difference and border, class, and gender struggles. I also use the grotesque as a category of analysis to historically reflect the emergence, rise, and proliferation of Chicana/o cultural production by tracing the grotesque in its pre-contact mythology as demonstrated in the Southwest myth of Montezuma; through the iteration of Mexican folk tales inherent in Luis Valdez' and Cherrié Moraga's plays; and through the publication and proliferation of pre-national, national, and post-national Chicana/o narrative as illustrated in such works by Oscar Zeta Acosta, Alejandro Morales, Gloria Anzaldúa, and Ana Castillo. Overall, my analysis introduces a new methodology for understanding how Chicana/o identity oscillates between cultures, languages, and histories, and plays a critical role in contemporary literary and cultural studies.

Kelvin  Ray Beliele. Beloved savages and other outsiders: Genre and gender transgressions in the travel writings of Herman Melville, Bayard Taylor, and Charles Warren Stoddard Chair: Gary Scharnhorst (American Literary Studies).

My dissertation is a study of the travel writings of three nineteenth-century American authors, Herman Melville, Bayard Taylor, and Charles Warren Stoddard. I argue that these writers evinced a rebellion encompassing literary as well as political and social subversion. In order to succeed in their rebellion, they relied upon genre transgression, the violation of the traditions and conventions of a particular genre, to convey defiant social opinions. They were demonstrative in voicing their critiques of American sexual, religious, and racial dogmas in their travel fiction and poetry.

These three authors violated genre boundaries in most of their works, but especially their travel narratives, several of which have come to be call "travel fiction," texts that are loosely autobiographical. In order to convey my arguments, I have viewed these works, in part, in the context of literary hybridity, the combination of elements from separate genres or literary styles to create a new combined genre; heteroglossia, an inherent human trait of using dissimilar media and vocabularies; and intertextuality, the introduction of a peripheral text into the main narrative of a text.

In addition to their disregard for the boundaries of genre, these authors displayed genuine affection for males and an appreciation of the male physique in ways that would "homosexual," "gay," or "queer" in current American society. Consequently, each of these men disregarded religious and moral constraints against same-sex affection and non-aggressive physical contact. As a result of their unconventional beliefs, they wrote against form, violating boundaries of gender and genre, mixing genres in their writing, and disregarding the usual Euro-American gender barriers.

In my study of the texts of these writers, I apply the idea "queer," the sexual and gender outsider, and "post-colonial," the examination of disparate cultures in the context of Western imperialism. An important aspect of these authors' writings is what occurs in their texts at the intersection of queer and postcolonialism. I demonstrate that Melville's, Taylor's, and Stoddard's genre bending in their travel writings is a reflection of their rebellion against the sexual and imperialist beliefs of the nineteenth century.

Robin Runia.  Hearkening to whores: Reviving eighteenth-century models of sensible writing  Chair: Carolyn  Woodward (British and Irish Literary Studies).

Scholars of both eighteenth-century and postmodern culture have long demanded a reexamination of Enlightenment. I argue that J.M. Coetzee's Foe , John Fowles's A Maggot and Susan Sontag's The Volcano Lover answer this call. As historiographic metafiction, these novels recuperate and revalue specific discourses within eighteenth-century culture and suggest that our Enlightenment inheritance may be emotional--that the first-person narratives that became hugely popular during the eighteenth-century are important for their potential to provide opportunities for sympathetic identification and the eliciting of feelings of responsibility. Specifically, through their representation of eighteenth-century discourses of prostitution,Foe , A Maggot , and The Volcano Lover celebrate the potential of suffering to provoke feelings of responsibility and of first-person narrative forms to make that suffering visible.

In this project I achieve two aims. First, by grounding the textual details of these postmodern novels in specific eighteenth-century contexts, I clarify our understanding of how historiographic metafiction can refigure our past. By highlighting the eighteenth-century difficulties and potentials for developing sympathy for whores, Coetzee's, Fowles's, and Sontag's novels emphasize the capacity of individuals to develop feelings of responsibility for coerced agents. By excavating the connection of these novels to eighteenth-century notions of language, identity, religious enthusiasm, and aesthetics, I demonstrate how Foe , A Maggot , and The Volcano Lover explore prompts and blocks to fellow feeling.

Second, my project illustrates how these novels construct the first-person narrative--in the form of memoir, letter, and testimony--as a means of cultivating sympathetic identification and feelings of responsibility. The character of Susan Barton in Coetzee's Foe and her attempts to control her story feature the affective valences of signification. In Fowles's A Maggot , the character of Rebecca Lee's testimony trumps blocks to identification and elicits sympathy in her auditor. Sontag's The Volcano Lover conjures competing aesthetic visions of the late eighteenth-century and represents Emma Hamilton's letter-writing as the most effective form of provoking affective response. Each of these postmodern novels demonstrates the impact narrative form had and continues to have on the ability of individuals to see and hear someone else's story and to feel for that story.

Birgit  Schmidt-Rosemann. Pox'd whores and virginal fannies: Shifting representations of women's bodies and their effects on female satire in the eighteenth century Chair: Carolyn Woodward (British and Irish Literary Studies).

In the two decades leading up to the mid-eighteenth century in Britain, an exploding print culture produced literary and visual depictions of women that reflect a radical change in popular perceptions of women's bodies, a change that affected how women of the period could use the satiric mode. In the popular culture of the early 1730s, sexually voracious women were figured as both symbol and scapegoat for excessive spending that threatened to lead to the collapse of a burgeoning economy. In this culture, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu uses the traditionally masculine mode of satire and appropriates the image of the sexually dominant woman in order to refocus the moral debates of her time on the weak male body, whose impotence she constructs as to blame for creating the image of the monstrous, sexual woman in the first place. Texts like John Cleland's Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure and Henry Fielding's The Female Husband reflect a change in popular cultural depictions of women that replaces the specter of sexually threatening femininity with an idealized image of naturally benevolent, sentimental femininity. This is the culture that Jane Collier confronts in the early 1750s. In her satire An Essay on the Art of Ingeniously Tormenting, Collier appropriates and exaggerates the manufactured image of acutely sensitive femininity in order to demonstrate how her culture's blind idealization of sentiment produces monstrous women that defeat her society's goals of nurturance, peace, and benevolence. The stylistic irony that pervades Collier'sEssay ignores and resists the vilification of artful female wit and the demand for female sincerity that have by this time taken hold of the culture. Both Montagu and Collier play important roles in the history of women's satire: their satiric confrontation of popular images of women's bodies can be seen in modern female satirists like Margaret Cho, Tina Fey, and Kathy Griffin.

Kristi  Stewart. Desert eroticism: Ellen Meloy's intimate geography and deep map of place Chair: Scott Sanders (American Literary Studies).

Ellen Meloy is a vital yet relatively unnoticed nature writer who wrote with humor and concern about the desert Southwest. This full-length study adds her work to the critical literature on nature writing. Ellen Meloy called her writing a "deep map of place." This study examines Meloy's four major works ( Raven's Exile, The Last Cheater's Waltz, The Anthropology of Turquoise, and Eating Stone ) from the perspective of that map, through which Meloy cultivates an intimate and erotic awareness of place. In this study, I observe how Meloy's relationship to place shifts and evolves through her four books. In Raven's Exile, Meloy writes with intimacy about her explorations of Desolation Canyon in Utah. In The Last Cheater's Waltz, she maps an intimate geography with a variety of places, only to feel in the end that "place" as an intimate partner has cheated on her. In the series of essays that comprise The Anthropology of Turquoise, Meloy cultivates a sensual, instinctual, and erotic understanding of place by using a rich and colorful palette throughout. InEating Stone, Meloy's final book, she is more meditative and spiritual as she spends time with desert bighorn sheep. Using intimate, erotic, and relationship metaphors, Meloy expands the boundaries of place writing and stretches our understanding of place itself.

Candice Welhausen. Toward a Visual Paideia: Visual Rhetoric in Undergraduate Writing Programs Chair: Susan Romano (Rhetoric and Writing).

New media and digital texts of the twenty-first century are generally characterized as rich and dynamic combinations of verbal, visual, and aural elements. Instruction in visual rhetoric in the writing classroom, however, has tended to focus on analysis with far less emphasis on teaching students how to produce multimodal texts. Drawing upon classical rhetorical theory, I propose the development of a visual paideia grounded in the educational goals of the Greco-Roman paideia to incorporate richly balanced instruction in both analysis and production of visual-dominant texts. I approach the development of a visual paideia via examining the current state of visual theory and practice in academic instructional culture. I survey extant theories of visual texts to argue that theories of graphic design, semiotics, and visual culture provide the rich framework needed to inform a visual paideia. I then conduct a writing program and textbook survey to tease out pedagogical practices. Finally, I propose the development of a collection of visual topoi or commonplaces that can be used as a powerful tool of invention in the creation of visual-dominant texts as I demonstrate through several examples of student work.


Cynthia  D. Fillmore. Satan, saints, and heretics: A history of political demonology in the Middle Ages Chair: Timothy Graham (Medieval Studies).

This project shows how and why demonology was used in the medieval ages as a legitimate political strategy, both by the Church and by seculars. The importance of demonology to the European medieval culture is firmly established through an examination of relevant Jewish and Christian biblical and extrabiblical texts. The avenues by which demonology was transmitted - patristic and theological writings, hagiographies, sermons, and secular literatures - is also examined to underscore the integration of demonology into the religious and lay culture.

Those thought to be involved with the demonic ran the gamut from the highest to lowest classes, and the entire Christian community was responsible for indentifying and dealing with anyone thought to be implicated with or directed by Satan or his demons. In the teleological worldview of the European Middle Ages, all Christians were intimately involved in protecting and strengthening the community until the End Time and Final Judgment arrived. Any number of charges - apostate, heretic, schismatic, idolater - were directly linked to Satan's influence and might be leveled against an individual or group. This project investigates a number of these groups and individuals as well as their accusers.

John D.  Miles. Rhetoric and sovereignty: Refiguring rhetorical agency in works by Native authors Chair: Susan Romano (American Literary Studies, Rhetoric and Writing).

In 2003, the Alliance of Rhetoric Societies (ARS) brought scholars together from rhetoric, literature, communications and other scholarly fields at the Conference on the Status and Future of Rhetorical Studies. One of the working groups at this conference discussed the question "How ought we to understand rhetorical agency?" From this conference and subsequent writings on agency, there has been a call to retheorize rhetorical agency. The introduction of postmodern or posthumanist theories of subjectivity has lead to a disconnect between the specific rhetorical act and agency. My project suggests that we are at a theoretical impasse where the argument over subjectivity is crippling the ways we understand agency. By taking into account the ways Native authors write about language I advance contemporary theories of agency in three ways. First, I look at the classical and contemporary theories oftopoi , agency, and publics. Alongside rhetorical theory I suggest that Gerald Vizenor's work on survivance and transmotion may open new terrain in rhetorical theory in relation to topoi , agency. I do so by reading texts by nineteenth century and early twentieth century Native authors for the ways they use, interrogate, and re-define the topoi circulating in dominant discourse about Natives to gain agency in public discourse. Finally, I discuss how sovereignty has become a topos in contemporary Native discourse and in fact offer us a new understanding of the strategic use of counterpublic discourse. Doing so I hope to enrich rhetorical theory with Native authors' ideas about language use and account some of the ways marginalized rhetors enter public discourse to promote social change, and look to the ways rhetorical theory can inform writing by Native people.


Stephanie Marie Gustafson. Dialogic voice in contemporary women's memoir: Daughter's narrative strategies for negotiating cultural and generational differences in the mother/daughter relationship Chair: Feroza Jussawalla (American Literary Studies).

Although mother/daughter relationships are prevalent in memoir, feminist literary scholarship has yet to theorize about them in depth. Memoirs' narrative strategies such as reflection and speculation provide the daughters/narrators tools for negotiating generational differences that cause tension between themselves and their mothers without perpetuating the idealized image of "the mother" or "the mother as monster." This study examines the way four women memoirists from different ethnic, racial, and class backgrounds, and different sexual orientations represent mother/daughter relationships and foreground the mother's voice. In addition, by examining the narrative strategies of four memoirists, the importance of having a recorded version of their lives and their mother's lives from both a political and psychological or healing perspective is established.

To understand the importance of having a recorded version of a life, memoir is defined and differentiated from autobiography because as forms of life writing the two genres differ in purpose and narrative strategy. Past theories about the construction of motherhood as an institution as well as the ideologies that shape the way daughters view their mothers also informs this study of mother/daughter relationships in women's memoir. The daughters in the study had to develop an awareness of the social, political, and economic factors that shaped their mothers and contributed to the tension in the mother/daughter relationship.

This study shows that memoir's narrative strategies help the daughter illuminate one of the important and significant relationships that women must negotiate by using self-reflexivity and speculation to fill in the gaps in the daughter's knowledge about the mother's life. Without the daughter's memoir, it is likely that the mother's voice and stories would not be heard. In the end the memoirs foreground ways in which the mothers' and daughters' stories coexist.

Dennis  Michael Lensing. Utopian myopia: American consumerism, the Cold War, and the popular fiction of the long 1950s Chair: Jesse Aleman (American Literary Studies).

I argue that the years immediately following World War II witnessed a drastic shift in ideology in America and that the popular fiction of the day reveals the tensions and anxieties generated by this change. A new, militant consumerism arose, in which the consumption of material goods came for the first time to be seen as a patriotic duty, both in order to stave off a potential economic recession and to demonstrate the superiority of capitalism to communism. Fostered by the Armed Services Editions distributed free by the United States government to soldiers during the war, the postwar era saw an unprecedented paperback revolution. This genre fiction served to provide symbolic resolutions to irresolvable historical contradictions, as I demonstrate by reading the texts from a Marxist cultural studies standpoint drawn from such critics as Fredric Jameson and Raymond Williams. This study is a work of recovery and of analysis, intended both to preserve texts that might otherwise have been forgotten and to situate them within their historical moment.

Maria Szasz. Philadelphia, Here He Came.: Brian Friel and America Chair: David Jones (British and Irish Literary Studies).

"Philadelphia, Here He Came!: Brian Friel in America" considers the work of Brian Friel through an American lens. By including both a literary and a theatrical analysis, I bridge the gap between these often polarized methods of assessing drama.

After discussing what theatrical knowledge Friel gained in 1963 from his mentorship in Minneapolis under the legendary theatre director Sir Tyrone Guthrie, I analyze thirteen of Friel's plays:Philadelphia, Here I Come!, The Loves of Cass McGuire, Lovers, The Mundy Scheme, The Freedom of the City, Faith Healer, Translations, American Welcome, Aristocrats, Dancing at Lughnasa, Wonderful Tennessee, Molly Sweeney and Give Me Your Answer, Do! My dissertation explores how America has impacted Friel's work, and how Friel's plays have affected New York theatre for over forty years.

I begin by tracing the development of Friel's numerous Irish-American and American characters, and his frequent use of American music and themes in his plays. Next, I discuss how the plays have been received on and Off-Broadway. In the process, I ponder why Friel did not start his New York theatre career on Off-Broadway. As early as Cass McGuire in 1966, Friel was an obvious playwright for the newly emerging Off-Broadway movement, due to his introspective and tragicomic plays. Despite this natural affinity, Friel did not have an Off-Broadway play until Translations in 1981. Instead of finding his niche Off-Broadway, Friel struggled through a number of Broadway disappointments (Cass McGuire, Mundy Scheme, Freedom of the City, Faith Healer, and Wonderful Tennessee ), as well as sporadic Broadway successes (Lovers, Lughnasa, the 2006 Faith Healerrevival, and the 2007 Translations revival). This dissertation tries to determine where the responsibility of these successes and failures lies: in the plays themselves, their leading actors and actresses, the fickle New York reviewers, or their Broadway location?

I conclude by comparing Friel's New York career with the work of his Irish dramatic predecessors, including Lady Gregory, Yeats, Synge, O'Casey, Beckett and Behan, and his contemporaries, such as Leonard, Keane, McGuinness, McPherson and McDonagh. Finally, I reflect upon why Friel is the most insightful contemporary Irish playwright on the New York stage.


Anita Lee Daniels. The Circumscribing Coyote: Native American use of signifying to cast their message in palatable tropes Chair: Lynn  Beene (American Literary Studies).

American Indian writers use signifying to present their history to make non-native audiences aware of their experiences, realize that they have survived, and appeal for a recognition of their culture. This dissertation investigates three writers prior to the twentieth century---Samson Occom, William Apess, and George Copway---and one in the twentieth century---D'Arcy McNickle. This study is a preliminary discussion of how these writers exemplify the use of voice to argue for the survival of American Indians.

After a brief discussion of rhetorical principles such as ethos, voice, and signifying and how they relate to ethnicity, the paper studies the work of early American Indian writers such as Samson Occom, William Apess, and George Copway before focusing on D'Arcy McNickle's development of the American Indians' signifying voice of the trickster character, which I have named the Circumscribing Coyote.

For American Indians, Coyote, a character that symbolizes the dichotomies of life, often represents the trickster figure that parallels the Signifying Monkey. Outrageous, ambiguous, and often self-destructive, Coyote represents not only the baser sides of human beings, but also their positive attributes, and serves as an instructional figure. Most important, however, in the context of American Indian rhetoric, "[w]hatever else he may be, Trickster is also a SURVIVOR who uses his wits and instincts to adapt to the changing times" (Nichols 2). It is the concept of survival that stands as the central rhetorical principle of American Indian rhetoric, and the American Indian Signifyin(g) Monkey might best be represented by a rhetorical concept named the Circumscribing Coyote.

The remainder of this dissertation focuses on how four American Indian writers, Samson Occom, William Apess, George Copway and D'Arcy McNickle used Kenneth Burke's four master tropes---metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche, and irony, to develop and refine the American Indian voice of signifying.

Johanna  Mari Cummings. Staging science: The invisible forces in the plays of Elizabeth Inchbald Chair: Carolyn Woodward (British and Irish Literary Studies).

This dissertation explores the staging of the invisible sciences in three plays by Elizabeth Inchbald:The Mogul Tale (1784), The Wise Man of the East (1799), and Animal Magnetism (1788). These plays incorporate the invisible sciences of flight, spiritualism, and mesmerism (respectively), and they provide a unique record of the popularization of new and uncertain science on the English stage. Politicization of scientific theories and innovations occurred simultaneously in print media (newspapers and magazines) and live, spectacle-based media (the English stage and other public demonstrations), and helped to frame public consciousness, both socially and politically, about issues ranging from gender and race politics to national identity and empire. Inchbald's plays in particular shaped popular understanding of the innovations by lacing scientific metaphor with political satire. This dissertation observes that Inchbald's stagings point to the playwright's conflicted values about the roles of women, England's relationship with India, the nature of revolution, and the role of imperialism in an unstable world. Inchbald's struggles to reconcile her political views (which were often conflicted in and of themselves) with her social positions (as a woman, a for-profit writer, and a Catholic) frequently undermined the force of what might otherwise have been cogent representations of revolutionary sentiments. Inchbald's struggle, thus, is representative in many ways of the public's struggle to reconcile competing ideologies of imperialism and democracy. Examining these struggles as they played out symbolically in the emergence of disciplinary science allows us to better appreciate the fluidity of conflict in the late eighteenth century. Finally, Inchbald's plays point to the most powerful human tool for confronting change---laughter. The sadness, frustration, anger and uncertainty of life in the late eighteenth century were ameliorated, at least in part, through Inchbald's light-hearted satire and stage-crafted happy endings.

Virgil Mathes. Pistols at high noon: The Code Duello in western literature Chair: Gary Scharnhorst (American Literary Studies).

This dissertation traces the development of the Code Duello, or code of the duel, in America as the cultural rules changed in the wake of Reconstruction and westward expansion. The Civil War deconstructed the cultural milieu that had supported the duel, but its ethos was carried west and continued to exert a cultural influence as the frontier expanded. Implicit in this examination is a rhetorically based inquiry into the dynamic relationship between speech acts and physical acts and the way the two are culturally mediated through the codifications of the Duello. This dissertation examines how the values privileged by the Code Duello affect conflict and violence throughout western literature and popular culture, and continue to influence society's ideas about conflict, gender, and the individual's relationship within society even today.

Lawrence E. Morgan.  Where science writing and nature writing converge: The writing of John Gierach  Chair: Scott Sanders (American Literary Studies, Rhetoric and Writing).

This dissertation examines the writing of John Gierach, America's most widely read fly fishing author, as one of the best examples of the genre of science and nature writing. Three of Gierach's essay collections are specifically examined. They are Trout Bum(1986), At the Grave of the Unknown Fisherman (2003), andStill Life with Brook Trout (2005). Trout Bum was Gierach's first published collection of essays, and the book that spawned his popularity. One criterion used to define science and nature writing in this dissertation is writing that draws on the presentation of facts in scientific-like writing, and the personal narrative style of traditional nature writing. This definition is derived from a continuum posited by Edward O. Wilson. At one end of Wilson's continuum is the literary pole and, at the opposite end, the science pole. The science and nature writing genre, exemplified by Gierach's writing, is located between these two poles, employing traits of each pole. A second criterion used to define science and nature writing is characteristics suggested by Richard Johnson-Sheehan and Paul Bogard. Vital to these characteristics is the role of context, the idea that landscape, scene, or the environment becomes actively involved in the narrative. A third criterion defining science and nature writing is William C. Stephenson's redefinition of the nature essay, which specifies, among other points, that the factual presentation of details is central to the essay. Gierach's writing is shown to use these characteristics in Trout Bum, At the Grave of the Unknown Fisherman, and Still Life with Brook Trout. Furthermore, textual examples from the writing of Mary Austin (Land of Little Rain ), Aldo Leopold (A Sand County Almanac ), Rachel Carson ( The Sea Around Us ), and Craig Childs (The Secret Knowledge of Water ) are juxtaposed with Gierach's writing to demonstrate how Gierach's writing is situated within the science and nature writing genre. Finally, a personal interview with Gierach provides commentary in his words on his writing.


Sibylle  M. Schlesier. Stahot'sewo'oms: I'll see you again. A study in the working of collaboration: The narratives of Bill Red Hat, Cheyenne keeper of the arrows Chair: Hector Torres (American Literary Studies).

This dissertation is about Bill Red Hat, the Cheyenne Arrow Keeper, who is the spiritual leader of his tribe. At the core of the dissertation are the narratives of Mr. Red Hat collected by the author. Four chapters serve to contextualize his voice and describe the process of collaboration.

In Chapter I the author describes the history of her relationship with the Red Hat family.

In Chapter II the author highlights the theoretical discussion surrounding the intellectual and ethical difficulties of transforming narration into inscription.

Chapter III briefly outlines the cornerstones of the relationship between the Cheyennes and the Arapahos. Since the Southern Cheyenne are federally recognized as "The Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma," both Cheyenne and Arapaho cultural survival and sovereignty are in jeopardy. In this chapter the author also discusses the treaty history pertaining to both tribes.

Chapter IV discusses Cheyenne personal narratives published during the time period 1931-1994, and takes up a range of issues at play in these narratives, including (1) the continuing nature of intellectual discrimination against the Native participant; (2) the persistent privileging of written over oral sources, and (3) the sustained nature of stereotyping and romanticization of Native cultures.

Chapter V focuses on excerpts from narratives collected by Renate Schukies of Bill Red Hat and his grandfather, Edward Red Hat, and the narratives collected by the author in the present work. By bringing these narratives into dialogue with one another, the value of an extended engagement with one family becomes apparent, and also the fact that stories persist over time. The comparative reading of these narratives reveals that not only is there a sense of tribal identity expressed, but that by telling stories, both Bill Red Hat and Edward Red Hat construct the stories of their own lives.

The narratives collected by the author, which comprise Chapter VI, are a testimony to the ongoing survival of tribal peoples. These narratives show that tribal individuals have found ways to navigate the terrain between tradition and modernity on their own terms, and in doing so they become the creators of their own identities and futures.

Shari  Michelle Evans. Navigating exile: Contemporary women writers discover an ethics of home Chair: Carolyn Woodward (American Literary Studies).

This dissertation examines the reformulation of home-spaces in recent novels by Margaret Atwood, Toni Morrison, and Octavia Butler. My work conceives of home as an active, dynamic space where multiple ideologies, imaginations and material realities engage one another. Because women have historically been controlled and condemned by the tyrannies of domestic space and of racial and gendered constructions, women writers have turned to exile as a site of freedom. Against the conventions of domestic space, Atwood, Morrison and Butler construct home in an ethics that creates and practices amorphous, inclusive, and changing community.

These three North American writers use the idea of home in different ways, yet each begins in exile and moves toward home. These writers locate exile as a space from which to imagine home and to create a new ethics. Butler plays with ideas of utopia and dystopia in her Parable series, exposing the power of imagination to provide viable home-spaces through the space created by community. In Morrison's Paradise , movement and difference enable individuals to practice a home based in community rather than in conformity. In Oryx and Crake , Atwood investigates the possibility that we are already exiled because we have destroyed both imagination and community leaving us with the hope that we still have enough imagination to respond to aesthetic pleasure and invent ethical practices. Ultimately, the new home-space that these writers construct is mobile and internal, rather than static and external; intentional and active rather than passive; based in memory and an imagined future rather than nostalgia for an imagined past. The novels I examine create an ethics of home that compels us to engage in honest, conscious exchange as we practice home.

Matthew Niven Teorey. Brer Rabbit and Nho Lobo: Connections between the literatures of Cape Verdean-Americans and African-Americans Chair: Gary Scharnhorst (American Literary Studies).

For more than two centuries Cape Verdeans have been compelled, economically and politically, to emigrate to the United States from their island home, located near the coast of West Africa. However, in America they have been relegated to second-class status--indiscriminately included into the larger group of African-Americans or segregated both racially and ethnically as "Portuguese niggers." Even in today's more enlightened and multicultural atmosphere, few European-Americans know of the existence of Cape Verdean-Americans, let alone their literary, social, and economic contributions. My dissertation recovers Cape Verdean and Cape Verdean-American texts, analyzing them through the lens of African-American literature and literary theory, in order to better understand their bicultural, biracial voice and appreciate their importance to American literature and culture.

The Cape Verdean-Americans' background and experiences are similar to those of African-Americans: both groups have African and European ancestors (in a hereditary and a literary sense); both endured slavery and cultural erasure; both faced discrimination after migrating to the northeast United States in search of economic opportunity and social acceptance; both have searched for self-identity and self-expression; both have attempted to acculturate into American society while struggling to reconnect with their heritage; both fought for civil rights during the 1960s and 1970s; and both have used literature, memoirs, and storytelling to write themselves and their culture into existence. Therefore, a discussion of Cape Verdean-Americans and their literature is aided by associating it with African-American literary criticism; however, it is also important to emphasize that Cape Verdean-American authors also present a unique perspective and celebrate a unique cultural heritage. These authors challenge both racial and ethnic stereotypes as they establish self- and community-identities, honor their island heritage and African ancestors, and fight for their rights as human beings and American citizens. This dissertation presents literature written by members of this ignored minority, addresses how they were affected by American racism, and analyzes the role they played in helping Black Americans negotiate their place in the larger society.

Patricia Stone. Chronotopes in the cross-cultural novel: Time, space and meaning in novels by Toni Morrison, Louis Owens, and Leslie Marmon Silko Chair: Elizabeth Archuleta (American Literary Studies).

Increasing scholarly interest in cross-cultural authors' treatments of space or time indicates the need for a methodology designed to facilitate the identification and analysis of significant time and space depictions in fiction reflecting more than one cultural perspective. This dissertation answers the need by formulating M. M. Bakhtin's theory of chronotopes (spatiotemporal representations) into a systematic device for locating significant time-space elements in narrative, by contextualizing spatiotemporal representations within the cultural framework implied by the text, and by focusing on authorial uses of time-space to convey cultural values connected to world views.

Due to the integral connection between time-space concepts and cultural value-systems, cross-cultural authors may configure elements of social critique into their chronotopes and the dialogic interrelationships among multiple chronotopes in a single work. Chronotopic configurations may convey complex social observations, assessments of ecological attitudes, and critiques of political practices. My analysis of novels by Toni Morrison, Louis Owens, and Leslie Marmon Silko, the primary authors selected for this study, illustrates the capacity of chronotopes and chronotopic interrelations to convey abstract meanings in narrative.


Cynthia Anne Segura. Perls of wisdom: Computer language and Perl poetry Chair: Lynn Beene (Rhetoric and Writing).

With the advent of the digital revolution and the widespread use and acceptance of the personal computer, authors and poets around the globe have begun to explore the dynamic potential of new modes of communication, such as hypertext, programming languages, and multimedia environments. While much has been written about works that employ hypertext and multimedia, few critics have analyzed poems authored in programming languages, such as Perl poetry. These computer language poems, the curious instance in which poem and code are one, are the most interesting of these new forms of writing since they provide unique insight into the poetics of digital environments as one of performance, language games, and word play.

Because these digital forms of writing use new technologies unavailable to previous generations, there is a strong inclination to characterize them as radically different and completely unlike traditional print-based poetries. Yet Perl and other forms of new media poetry represent an extension, not the dissolution, of concepts already being explored in avant-garde poetry. Like other forms of avant-garde poetry, Perl poetry is non-mimetic, non-lyrical, and non-narrative. Instead of lyricism and plot, Perl poetry foregrounds the material constraints of the computing environment in connection with a heightened attention to the visual, aural, and semantic characteristics of both English and the Perl language.

Perl poetry not only signifies an important addition to the history of contemporary poetry, but also suggests dramatic implications for the study of poetry. As we enter the digital age, we must alter our definitions of poetry to include objects outside our traditional areas of expertise. In so doing, Perl poetry suggests that in the digital age, poetry is an interdisciplinary endeavor.

Carin Bigrigg. Women (w)ri(gh)ting wrongs: Contemporary female playwrights manipulate the past Chair: David Jones (American Literary Studies, British and Irish Literary Studies).

This study examines how contemporary female playwrights--Caryl Churchill, Sharon Pollock, Timberlake Wertenbaker, Anna Deavere Smith, and Suzan-Lori Parks--manipulate the past in order to comment on the present. These five playwrights, whose writing spans twenty years and who hail from three Anglophone countries, all question the means to attaining and the uses of power; they also, coincidentally, provide "women's" and "Black" voices in theatre, examine history in correlation with the present, and in some cases, use theatre as a tool to open up dialogue and educate about difference. In each chapter, I concentrate on two plays; within each play, I compare two time registers--the historical periods in which they are set and the years surrounding composition--by looking at power, representation and violence.

Chapter two centers on Sharon Pollock's Blood Relations and Suzan-Lori Parks's The America Play by exploring the motivations and mechanisms behind how individuals, victims of hegemonic constructions of gender and race, attempt to assert some sort of control through violence and resist gender and racial representation. For Parks and Pollock, the "what if" and the reasons for action are more important than the result, while the historical setting helps both playwrights re-present the past and make a point about their contemporary times without having to conform completely to either setting.

Chapter three combines a discussion of Caryl Churchill's Vinegar Tom with an exploration of Anna Deavere Smith's Fires in the Mirror to shed light on the power of group identity and representation, the dangers of which are made explicit by their plays. Both plays present the two primary results--the speaker is disempowered by accepting the representation imposed by the other side or the speaker is negatively empowered by demonizing others--of a range of characters (ab)using representation, representation of self, of other, and of context.

Finally, the last chapter associates Churchill's Light Shining in Buckinghamshire with Timberlake Wertenbaker's The Grace of Mary Traverse to investigate identity politics, image control, and representation, as individuals attempt and fail to create more social and legislative equality through revolution or riot. Identity, as well as representation, becomes a means of attaining or being denied power, and identity in the twentieth century, no less than in the seventeenth, is constructed by society, gender norms, and politics. By combining identity politics with a recovery of previously silenced history, both playwrights endeavor to change our views of the millennial movement, women's roles in society, women's identity, and various complaints of capitalism.

Arlene Cinelli Odenwald. A stylistic analysis of the ethos of characters in Barbara Kingsolver's 'The Poisonwood Bible' Chair: Lynn Beene (American Literary Studies, Rhetoric and Writing).

It should come as no surprise that language and ethics interact to give readers a sense of what characters' ethical constitutions are like in narrative fiction. This study attempted to find out exactly how language conveys morality through a statistical analysis of the diction of the three oldest daughters in Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible . Nouns, verbs, and adjectives were categorized into several linguistic features, from modals in the verbal category to Latinate words in the noun category. Of all the features analyzed, however, three rose in prominence. They were emotional, informal, and moral-related words. This study showed that the daughter described as the conscience of the novel yielded the highest frequency of moral-related words and the lowest frequencies of emotional and informal words, and the daughter described as materialistic and self-absorbed yielded the lowest frequency of moral-related words and the highest frequencies of emotional and informal words.

Logan  Dale Greene. The discourse of hysteria: The topoi of humility, physicality, and authority in women's rhetoric Chair: Wanda Martin (Rhetoric and Writing).

This project analyzes the rhetorical strategies of five women from different historical periods, finding commonalities that constitute a discourse strategy characteristic of women's rhetoric. This strategy, the discourse of hysteria, derives from and makes productive use of women's historical position at the margins of institutionalized power in our culture. This discourse is constituted by three topoi , or commonplaces, that have been employed by women over many centuries and that parallel the characteristics of hysteria. They represent the transformation of hysterical symptoms into rhetorical strategy. These three topoi are humility, which consists of the assertion of inferiority as a means of securing approval; physicality, which involves the deployment of the body in imagery and gesture; and authority, which is a claim of standing to be heard, often based on grounds of maternity or divine revelation.

The first chapter of the dissertation addresses the history of women's rhetoric. This history is supported by recent publications that have recovered a significant body of rhetorical work by women that had been erased or forgotten. The second chapter surveys the history of hysteria as a diagnosis applied almost exclusively to women and introduces Lacanian discourse theory, which includes the discourse of the hysteric. From Lacan's work, I derive a formulation for a discourse of hysteria, expressed in three topoi : humility, physicality, and authority.

The next five chapters apply this discourse strategy to the work of five women. Chapter Three concerns the life and work of Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179); Chapter Four, Margery Kempe (1373-1440); Chapter Five, Aphra Behn (1640-1689); Chapter Six, Sojourner Truth (1797-1883); Chapter Seven, Hélène Cixous (1937- ). Chapter Eight concludes with the argument that eros has emerged as a new center of authority, not replacing the historically privileged logos but displacing it as the center. Eros is a new signifier generated by feminism, which has functioned in the modern period as a cultural hysteric. The new valuation of eros in relation to logos is connected with a greater inclusion of women in public life. The discourse of hysteria, developed by women over many centuries, continues to offer opportunities for rhetorical power.

Karen Janet McKinney. 'Mountaineers guard well the past': Ethnologists, adventurers, storytellers, and the representation of twentieth century Appalachia Chair: Mary Power (American Literary Studies).

The Appalachian Mountains have provided a refuge for two groups of people, the Eastern Cherokees who claim the region as their ancestral land, and white immigrants from Europe, who began settling the region nearly two hundred and fifty years ago. In this dissertation, I examine the ethnological and travel works that have created inaccurate and damaging images of these peoples as well as works in which mountain people themselves write back to the imperialist power structure. I base my analysis on post-colonial theory, particularly the work of Frantz Fanon and Mary Louise Pratt. I analyze, among other works, James Mooney's publications on the Eastern Cherokees at the turn of the twentieth century, Horace Kephart's influential travel book, Our Southern Highlanders , unpublished masters theses written by two Eastern Cherokees seventy years apart, and a series of newspaper columns written by Harvey Miller, a white settler subsistence farmer. My analysis focuses on the rhetorical strategies used by both non-native ethnologists and native writers. Additionally, I hope my research helps these obscure native Appalachian writers to find a publisher and the audience they deserve.

Karmen Lenz. Images of psychic landscape in the Meters of King Alfred's "Froferboc" Chair: Helen Damico (Medieval Studies).

In the late ninth century, King Alfred translated Boethius's De Consolatione Philosophiae (Consolation of Philosophy) into Anglo-Saxon. Alfred rendered the Consolatio as Froferboc (The Book of Consolation ). This study argues that the Froferboc Meters offer significant thematic contributions to the entire work. Through poetic meditations, Alfred intended to teach his kingdom--particularly the judges in his court--that introspection guides moral action. The Meters served a fundamental and unique instructional purpose in Alfred's educational reform program.

Chapter 1 provides an overview of the editorial tradition and scholarship of Alfred's Froferboc . Chapter 2 examines poetic expansions in the Froferboc that treat the theme of the individual in harmony with divine law. The Meters enhance Alfred's teaching that the individual seeks guidance through his knowledge of the cardinal virtues to be able to act according to divine law. Poetic expansions reinforce the teaching that the individual is obliged to act according to divine law in the world and that his soul transcends the cosmic order and reaches perfection in the eternal by divine grace. Chapters 3 and 4 address the harmony of the mind with the divine. Chapter 3 examines Anglo-Saxon poetic terms for the mind to describe how its thoughts form a state of mind. The range of poetic terms for the mind in the Meters corresponds to the divine and lower natures of the three-fold soul, a model transmitted from the classical to medieval period through Augustine and Alcuin. As a result, the poetry captures the dynamics of the soul's relationship to God through imagery that describes consciousness. The final chapter examines how the poetic descriptions of landscape mirror the soul's harmony or separation from God.

Scott Rode. Reading and mapping Hardy's roads Chair: Gail Houston (British and Irish Literary Studies).

Employing a cultural studies approach, I interrogate Thomas Hardy's use of the road within three of his novels. Within these novels, Hardy's fictive Victorians use roads for three related reasons: first, to exchange a working-class identity for a middle-class one; second, to secure love through marriage; and third, to find a knowable, stable community. I analyze their patterns of departure-arrival-return along roads from a spatial center, and I compare these patterns with the historical meanings and uses of the road that Hardy weaves into his texts that creates a complicated map full of residual histories that his characters negotiate.

For example, I discuss the imperial Roman road in The Return of the Native , the ritualized ceremony of the Neolithic Dorset Cursus in Tess of the D'Urbervilles , and the Iron-Age pilgrimage path of the Icknield Way in Jude the Obscure . Hardy intertwines and integrates these surviving, residual histories with that of his characters in order to explore modern issues of gender relations, class ideologies, and power distribution. I argue that Hardy uses the road as a palimpsest by which to complicate and critique Victorian constructions of gender and class in order to comprehend an emergent Victorian subjectivity.

Mary Ann Rooks. "Clarissa"'s lessons: Space, class and other moral matters in Richardson's eighteenth century Chair: Carolyn Woodward (British and Irish Literary Studies).

Working from Richardson's perception that his society was in the midst of a moral crisis, and his frequently expressed intention to write novels that serve as a means of instructing readers in the construction of proper moral belief and behavior, this project examines the impact of Clarissa as an ethical exercise. In order to appreciate the moral message of Clarissa , one must take into consideration not only Richardson's negotiation of popular conceptions of the moral philosophies of his age, but also his literary enactments of various strains of these philosophies in the practices of everyday life. Twentieth-century theories regarding the relationship between quotidian spatial practices and the exercise of power can help us understand the ethical implications of the ways Richardson's characters manipulate, interpret, and practice space. In particular, Clarissa reveals the ways contemporary dominant cultural ideologies may be misused in frontal spatial practices that serve to hide clandestine tensions and cover covert motives and manipulations of appearances. In addition to this, a thorough analysis of the moral functioning of Clarissa must take into consideration Richardson's interest in the shifting about of the social and economic structures of the eighteenth century. While it is clear that Richardson values the stability and order provided by social hierarchy, he also sees an opportunity in the rising wealth and power of the middling classes. Ultimately, what this study proposes is that Richardson uses Clarissa to teach, through the experience of reading the novel, a reformation of the middle class so that they are able to (1) bring a strong sense of divinely ordered morality into the everyday practices of social experience, (2) exercise their wealth responsibly, and (3) bring with them a new authority of moral rectitude as they assimilate into the upper classes. In the reformation and rise of the middle class, in other words, lies the promise a newly invigorated moral authority.

Mary Terese Blum. The comitatus in the trenches: Reading the poetry of World War I through the lens of Anglo-Saxon heroism Chair: Hugh Witemeyer (Medieval Studies).

This study accounts for striking similarities between Old English heroic verse and the trench poetry of World War I by examining the communal relationships among the men within the comitatus, or war-band, both medieval and modern. During the First World War, soldiers in the separate combat units assigned to the western front formed deep and lasting bonds with each other. As the official reasons for fighting the war became increasingly their specific war-bands, and this commitment of spirit sustained them in battle and in rest. With the destruction of the comitatus, however, survivors often experienced a deep sense of cultural exile. The words of the trench poets and other World War I veterans often reflect an unresolved exilic despair that recalls the sorrow of Anglo-Saxon thegns who outlived their war-bands. By reading the trench poetry alongside the Old English heroic poetry, the reader is better able to understand the profound relationships among the modern soldiers, as well as the sense of exile suffered by those who survived the trenches. Traditional criticism does not often pair Old English and modern poetry; by doing so, this study offers a new interpretation of the World War I verse through its analysis of the Old English heroic poetry. Successive chapters treat the formation, function, life, and death of the comitatus in both periods. Representations of the comitatus in the Old English verse are compared and contrasted with similar representations in the modern trench poetry. Finally, unpublished primary documents written by non-poet First World War soldiers and discovered through archival research provide support for the assertions made about the poetry.


Andrew  Flood Mara. The rhetoric of evasion and silence of surveillance: Hypertext origin narratives from Vannevar Bush to Richard Lanham Chair: Richard Johnson-Sheehan (Rhetoric and Writing).

Current theoretical approaches to electronically-networked hypertext reinforce pre-existing literary theory discourses, which emphasize the liberating aspects of using hypertext. Hypertext theorists continue to perpetuate the myth that electronically-networked hypertexts promote reader evasion and hinder surveillance by building their arguments upon the premise of an oral/textual dichotomy and the teleological argument that our journey between oral and written cultures leads to greater freedom and "evasion" by the viewer. This dissertation uses Foucault's concept of synoptic power and Richard Lanham's "Q question" to reframe and evaluate the way scholars view two hypertext origin stories, Vannevar Bush's "As We May Think" and Theodor Nelson's Literary Machines and to demonstrate that closer examination of different aspects of Bush's essay and Nelson's book can unite the two visions of hypertext--the early vision of hypertext as wild frontier where an undetected user could explore, and the recent vision of the hypertext as a space where user movements can be closely monitored and surveilled.

Vannevar Bush's essay provides a rich case study for explaining many of the rhetorical commonplaces hypertextual theorists depend upon for describing the rise of hypertext. Theodor Nelson's humanistic emphasis of Project Xanadu with the capitalistic and democratic rhetoric ofLiterary Machines contradicts itself and demonstrates how sidestepping dystopian forebodings strengthens "the rhetoric of evasion." Finally, Richard Lanham's book of essays The Electronic Worduses a different teleology to obscure electronically-networked hypertext's ambiguous origins. Lanham's affinity for the social progression argumentation helps him promote the idea of personal synoptic power while omitting the historical precedent of electronic hypertext's synoptic power over users. To counter this blind spot, the "Q question" provides a valuable tool to evaluate how people implement electronic hypertext.

Virginia  Lovliere Hampton. "A song worth singin": From rituals of resistance to radical Black subjectivity in African American theater and performance Chair: Feroza Jussawalla (American Literary Studies).

This study investigates African American theatre and performance as a site for decolonization of Black psyche. W. E. B. DuBois and Frantz Fanon were among the first intellectuals to explore both the fragmentation of "post-colonial condition" and the power of "double consciousness". This investigation enlarges the continuum of dialogue on these subjects by positing Black theater performance as both a site of critical engagement and as a methodology for the further study of African American culture.

In the context of a theater production, the performance community forges connections from live expressions of ritual elements like music, song, and dance to engage creative and radical subjectivities within the interstitial spaces of culture. Radical subjectivity emerges when people who have been taught to see themselves as objects create and control their own lives and imaginations. Black theater and performances, unlike Black performances in mainstream music, television and film, brings to life the realities of continuous evolution and movement that are an integral part of any concept of oppositionality or subjectivity. In this process, it is necessary to understand how structures of domination work on one's own life, as "one develops critical thinking and critical consciousness, as one invents new, alternative habits of being and resists from that marginal space of difference inwardly defined" ( Yearning 15).

August Wilson and Aishah Rahman have created plays to be performed as dynamic manifestations of this type of "radical subjectivity" within the Black "postcolonial condition," using ritual elements as rituals of resistance. In the interest of exploring history, Africanist perspectives, and Black lifeworlds, ritual elements are set in place to assist in our navigation of the worlds we occupy within and beyond the performance place. The use of African American ritual elements in both theater performance and critical theory constitute the evolution of historical and contemporary "rituals of resistance" into locations of "radical subjectivity" in a reflexive intellectuality that bears all the markings of ritual in its ability to engage, serve a purpose and suggest spiritual connection within an audience community.

Michael Mark Moghtader. Lives on the disciplinary boundary: Toward a hybrid English studies graduate teacher Chair: Charles Paine (British and Irish Literary Studies, Rhetoric and Writing).

This dissertation critiques the process of disciplinary formation of English graduate teachers who enroll with the intent to specialize in literary studies but whose expectations about English studies professionalism are shaped extensively by their work as teaching assistants for required writing programs. As a result of the disciplinary hegemony of literary studies in English departments, these graduate teachers receive very little, if any, encouragement to validate their work in rhetoric and composition studies as an important part of the process of literary disciplinary formation. Instead, English graduate teachers conform to preexisting professional subjectivities that tend to be reductive caricatures--a "comp" person, a "creative writer" person, a "lit" person--rather than complex English studies professional subjects. In the process of their disciplinary formation, they reinscribe the disciplinary boundary lines between rhet/comp and literary studies, which, in turn, intensifies an unproductive and long-standing tension between these major disciplinary fields of English.

I argue that the real work of "getting disciplined" in English should take place not in rhet/comp or literature but, rather, in between these disciplinary fields. Instead of building bridges over the gap between rhet/comp and literature and conscripting graduate teachers to help fortify the disciplinary edges that serve as these bridges' foundations, I propose that English graduate teachers think more about the gap itself and look for opportunities to occupy this interstitial space between these disciplines so that they may articulate new, "hybrid" forms of English disciplinary knowledge from the inside-out. In this way, the objective of English graduate studies would be not to discipline the articulatory practices of the middle ground between rhet/comp and literature but to promote a kind of hybrid thinking in the spaces between these disciplines that allows graduate teachers to engage in the reciprocal examination of these disciplinary boundaries.

Andrew Michael Michael Smith. Regeneration through photography: Invention and identity in pre-twentieth-century United States literature Chair: Gary Scharnhorst (American Literary Studies).

In this dissertation I examine the intersections of literature and photographic invention and practice from before the 1839 announcement of the daguerreotype to the literary moment of the American Renaissance in the 1850s, when daguerreotypes were succeeded by new imaging technologies. I argue that early writers in America were preoccupied with the component parts of what would eventually become photography and note authorial efforts to adapt facets of photographic representation to literary projects once the new art and science arrived on the scene. I foreground the role and relevance of photographic practitioners in hopes of providing a clearer understanding of the scientific search for photography, its close associations with literary invention, and to highlight the determining influence of the artist behind the lens for the details recorded and inscribed into public memory. I suggest photography was used as a model and a tool, seized upon by United States authors, for constructing and sometimes corrupting identity, and emphasize the coordinate promise of regeneration and the pitfalls of social degeneration inherent in the new mechanical image making, as well as the presence of that promise and pitfall within literary texts informed by photographic technology and practice.

I examine pre-1839 literary texts and authors to suggest a scattering of ideas for a kind of proto-photography that preceded its material appearance and was registered in desire, increasingly visible in literary production, as 1839 approaches. Prominent in this discussion are the science writings of Jonathan Edwards and Benjamin Franklin, the fiction of Charles Brockden Brown, the varied writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and a little-discussed Nathaniel Hawthorne tale from the eve of photographic invention. In extended discussions of Hawthorne's daguerrean-era story "The Birth-mark" and daguerrean-era novel The House of the Seven Gables , I suggest the author's anxiety regarding the vexed nature of photographic truth and the contested meanings of photographic representation. I examine the height of daguerrean-era influence on literature by linking the writings and photography of entrepreneur John Plumbe, Jr., who played a crucial role in early daguerreotypy's reception and maturation in America, with Walt Whitman's poetics and the self-management of Whitman's own photographic iconography. Whitman appropriated and exploited the realistic pretenses of the new art of photography for use in his own poetry, so much so that a controlled image making from the mechanical eye is at the core of the seemingly organic entityLeaves of Grass . Ultimately, I suggest how the two artists' work commented, in related fashion, upon the critical issue of race in a country edging inevitably toward civil war. I use Plumbe as a means of reading Whitman's poetry and self-promotion, ultimately, telling two stories--one which recommends a little known nineteenth-century photographer and writer as a figure worthy of closer study in his own right, and the other, an illustration of a leading American writer responding to and incorporating photographic technology into his own imaginative literature. In the end, photography serves as a model and vehicle for literary production, and as a repository of desire for a transparent art form. Photographic technologies offered authors models of regenerative and degenerative power for national and individual identity and a metaphor for stabilizing a national literary project in search of self-definition.

Andrew  Michael Smith. Regeneration through photography: Invention and identity in pre-twentieth-century United States literature Chair: Gary Scharnhorst (American Literary Studies).

In this dissertation I examine the intersections of literature and photographic invention and practice from before the 1839 announcement of the daguerreotype to the literary moment of the American Renaissance in the 1850s, when daguerreotypes were succeeded by new imaging technologies. I argue that early writers in America were preoccupied with the component parts of what would eventually become photography and note authorial efforts to adapt facets of photographic representation to literary projects once the new art and science arrived on the scene. I foreground the role and relevance of photographic practitioners in hopes of providing a clearer understanding of the scientific search for photography, its close associations with literary invention, and to highlight the determining influence of the artist behind the lens for the details recorded and inscribed into public memory. I suggest photography was used as a model and a tool, seized upon by United States authors, for constructing and sometimes corrupting identity, and emphasize the coordinate promise of regeneration and the pitfalls of social degeneration inherent in the new mechanical image making, as well as the presence of that promise and pitfall within literary texts informed by photographic technology and practice.

I examine pre-1839 literary texts and authors to suggest a scattering of ideas for a kind of proto-photography that preceded its material appearance and was registered in desire, increasingly visible in literary production, as 1839 approaches. Prominent in this discussion are the science writings of Jonathan Edwards and Benjamin Franklin, the fiction of Charles Brockden Brown, the varied writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and a little-discussed Nathaniel Hawthorne tale from the eve of photographic invention. In extended discussions of Hawthorne's daguerrean-era story "The Birth-mark" and daguerrean-era novel The House of the Seven Gables , I suggest the author's anxiety regarding the vexed nature of photographic truth and the contested meanings of photographic representation. I examine the height of daguerrean-era influence on literature by linking the writings and photography of entrepreneur John Plumbe, Jr., who played a crucial role in early daguerreotypy's reception and maturation in America, with Walt Whitman's poetics and the self-management of Whitman's own photographic iconography. Whitman appropriated and exploited the realistic pretenses of the new art of photography for use in his own poetry, so much so that a controlled image making from the mechanical eye is at the core of the seemingly organic entityLeaves of Grass . Ultimately, I suggest how the two artists' work commented, in related fashion, upon the critical issue of race in a country edging inevitably toward civil war. I use Plumbe as a means of reading Whitman's poetry and self-promotion, ultimately, telling two stories--one which recommends a little known nineteenth-century photographer and writer as a figure worthy of closer study in his own right, and the other, an illustration of a leading American writer responding to and incorporating photographic technology into his own imaginative literature. In the end, photography serves as a model and vehicle for literary production, and as a repository of desire for a transparent art form. Photographic technologies offered authors models of regenerative and degenerative power for national and individual identity and a metaphor for stabilizing a national literary project in search of self-definition.

Miriam O'Kane Mara. A famine of preference: Images of anorexia in contemporary Irish literature Chair: Mary Power (British and Irish Literary Studies).

This dissertation investigates the work of Edna O'Brien, Colum McCann, and Nuala O'Faolain--analyzing anorexia and other examples of refusing to eat as metaphors for taking back a voice and for creating identity. I contend that anorexic behavior in Irish characters, especially women, represents an attempt at political action. Because Ireland has a history of both famine and hunger strikes, anorexic behavior is overdetermined. Additionally, in the struggle to construct an Irish free-state identity separate from the former colonizer and from the still colonized Northern counties, Catholicism was an important tool. With that religious fervor came the excessive patriarchal definition of women's roles. Anorexia nervosa and other willful starving in this atmosphere represents the tensions of Catholic control over bodies, especially women's bodies, as part of Irish identity building and nation building. In other words, the characters in contemporary Irish texts, who manifest anorexia nervosa, represent not just fears and anxieties about speech, control, and autonomy for women, but also for colonized people.

I first build a foundation for the study by connecting the legacy of the Great Famine to the post-colonial responses to food and eating through an analysis of Nuala O'Faolain's novel, My Dream of You. Next, I focus on anorexia as a response to and metaphor for Catholic control of women's bodies by examining Edna O'Brien's works, The Country Girls, August is a Wicked Month, and "Sister Imelda." I then move beyond Catholicism to discuss how border politics interpenetrates the power issues connected to bodies and appetites with a discussion of Edna O'Brien's novel Down by the River, and Colum McCann's works, Songdog , and "Sisters." Finally, I address the representations of anorexic women and their connection to male hunger strikers by juxtaposing McCann's novella "Hunger Strike" with his earlier works.

Kevin  Robert Dye. "Barbaric Splendor:" The Colville Reservation writings of 1887--1889 Indian Agent Rickard D. Gwydir Chair: Gary Scharnhorst (American Literary Studies).

In this dissertation, I recover and analyze the previously unpublished manuscript of Rickard D. Gwydir (1844-1925). In the manuscript, Gwydir retells events that took place during his tenure as Indian Agent, in the late 1880s, for the Colville Agency. He also records narratives heard from tribal leaders, mixed-blood interpreters, and Euramerican settlers. I analyze the cross-cultural, rhetorical, and ideological relationships that exist between the author, his text, and the Interior Salish Tribal people he represents, situating his narratives in nineteenth-century literary and ideological discourse on Indians and Indianess. I argue that despite his years of close contact, Gwydir's representation of Native peoples stems largely from American frontier ideology and the related, long-established Cooperian literary tradition of representing Indians. I examine rhetorical instances where Gwydir buttresses his authority and obscures or effaces cultural translation and mediation. I contend that, unlike contemporaneous Northwest Native authors such as Mourning Dove (Okanogan), Gwydir tends to centralize Indian otherness and its assorted meanings.


Jason  David Fichtel. Writing "in the thrall of the impossible real": William Faulkner's rhetoric of disaster Chair: Antonio Marquez (American Literary Studies).

This dissertation discusses three of Faulkner's most important novels (The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, and Absalom, Absalom! ) each as an attempt to find a language through which to narrate the myriad disasters and traumas of the American South. I argue that Faulkner employs what I have called a "rhetoric of disaster"--an attempt at making language "say at" that which it cannot ever mean or comprehend. Through language, characterization, and stylistics, Faulkner's work ultimately presents readers with the impossibility of narrating/telling disastrous events--both personal and cultural.

Few studies of Faulkner's novels have made use of the enormous collection of criticism and philosophy written by Maurice Blanchot, whose works greatly illuminate readings of Faulkner. This study incorporates--for the first time--extended discussion of Blanchot's multiple concepts, theories, and ideas about literature with Faulkner's novels. Beginning with Blanchot's notion of "disaster," the study expands to incorporate related, contemporary theories of trauma, witnessing, and testimony.

Heather  Eileen O'Shea. Suitable poets in Brooks Brothers suits: Allen Tate, the New Critics, and the American poets laureate Chair: Lynn Beene (American Literary Studies).

The position of Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress was created in 1937. Thirty-five poets have served as Consultants since that time. In 1985, the position was renamed, partly in hopes of increasing its visibility. Poets selected since 1985 have served as "Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry."

Throughout its existence, the position has remained largely unexamined by scholars. There has been little critical discussion concerning the role itself or how poets are selected for the position. An examination of the poets who have served since Allen Tate became the second Consultant in 1943 demonstrates a marked bias in the selection process toward highly formal, academic poetry. The Consultancy has failed to recognize poets from other contemporary movements. Women and other minorities have also been grossly underrepresented. Finally, the selection of poets to the Consultancy has demonstrated a regional bias, with poets of Eastern, urban backgrounds much more likely to be selected than their contemporaries in the South, Midwest, or West.

The selection process that led to these inequities in the early decades of the Consultancy was heavily dominated by Allen Tate and other New Critics. In order to demonstrate how they achieved this power, I will look at how Allen Tate gained his reputation as a prominent critic, how he reinforced that reputation with his stint as Consultant, and how he used the Consultancy as a weapon in the New Critics' battle to become the dominant critical influence in the academy and in the Library of Congress.

It is not my intention to demonstrate the limitations of the New Criticism, but rather to show how the reliance on one critical standard for the selection of Consultants precluded the selection of poets engaged in some of the most exciting poetic movements of contemporary times. This exclusion has limited the role of the Poet Laureate and kept it from becoming the vital force in contemporary poetry that it should be. My hope is that this argument will generate critical interest in the position of United States Poet Laureate, and begin a discussion that will lead to positive change.

Julianne White. "We have come to give you metaphors for poetry": Dance, music and the visual arts as metaphors in the poetry of W. B. Yeats Chair: Mary Power  (British and Irish Literary Studies).

Music, the visual arts, and the dance are recurring conceptual metaphors throughout the Yeats canon. My argument is threefold: First, Yeats conceived of the dance as a metaphor for a site for the tension created in relationships. Secondly, he conceived of music as a metaphor for the up-and-down progression of human life, which closely and strikingly resembles the movement of a musical phrase. Third, Yeats understood the visual arts as representing the difficulty in perceiving the overall meaning of life, which looks much of these conceptual metaphors changes the readers, the interpreters, in profound ways. These conceptually innovative metaphors provide the means by which readers can experience epiphanal, instantaneous, and often profoundly insightful understanding. This dissertation closely examines the poetry containing these metaphors and argues that Yeats exploited dance, music and the arts in order to communicate his poetic vision of the nature of relationships, how life progresses, and, overall, the meaning of life and the role of the artist in explicating that meaning.