The Western Literature Association is a lively and unconventional group of scholars from across the nation and overseas who meet every fall someplace “west of the Mississippi.” Always based on American studies methodology and now influenced by cultural studies, the work of association members is broadly interdisciplinary. Made up of academics, writers, environmentalists, teachers, humorists, and activists, WLA has provided a seedbed for emerging work; for instance, the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment emerged out of WLA meetings in the 1980s.
The purpose of the Western Literature Association is to foster and to promote the study of the literature and culture of the American West in all its varied aspects. This subject includes the literature of the American frontier in any region of the United States, the literature of the Trans-Mississippi United States, and the literatures of other nations sharing the frontier experience, especially Canada and Mexico. Since its founding, the Association has served to publish scholarship focused on these areas; it has gathered together scholars, artists, environmentalists, and community leaders who value the West’s literary and cultural contributions to American and world cultures; it has recognized those who have made a major contribution to western literature and western studies; and it has fostered student learning and career advancement in education.
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