- Dissertation Abstracts 1998–1999
Barber, Katrine. “After Celilo Falls: The Dalles Dam, Indian Fishing Rights, and Federal Energy Policy on the Mid-Columbia River.” American Studies, Washington State University, May 1999.
The Dalles Dam (1957) drowned Celilo Falls, a significant Indian fishing site on the Columbia River. The Yakima Umatilla, Warm Springs, and Nez Perce tribes, and unaffiliated river Indians negotiated with the government for compensation as the Army Corps proceeded to build the dam. This paper traces those negotiations, examining their impact on fishing rights, Indian resistance, and federal Indian policy of the 1930s–1960s. Drawing from native and federal government files, I conclude that the Corps did not incorporate opposition into their plans but only recorded it “for the record.” Even so, the persistence of Indians to retain control of their fisheries and community during tremendous upheaval is an important part of Pacific Northwest history.
Barnett, Thomas C. “A Utopian-Mythopoesis Reading of American Puritan Jeremiads: A Reclassification of Selected Seventeenth-Century New England Pulpit Literature.” Department of American Studies, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO, November 1998.
This dissertation investigates themes of utopian-mythopoesis within seventeenth-century American Puritan jeremiads. Utopian-mythopoesis is defined as specific literary-rhetorical and symbolic acts which represent essential aspects of a perfect society (of establishment Puritanism). Myths are creation stories explaining either how a culture came into existence, presently perceives itself, or projects its identity into the future. Jeremiads are political sermons lamenting New England’s spiritual and cultural declension, while also issuing a recipe for reform. This study utilizes a constructive inter-disciplinary method engaging the insights and contributions of utopian studies, myth studies, and literary-history. Findings reveal that, within jeremiads, there is strong evidence of utopian metaphors. [End Page 954]
Boyd, Anne E. “From ‘Scribblers’ to Artists: The Emergence of Women Writers as Artists in America.” American Studies, Purdue University, June 1999.
This dissertation focuses on the first generation of American women writers to adopt identities as serious artists—the postbellum writers Louisa May Alcott, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Elizabeth Stoddard, and Constance Fenimore Woolson. Whereas antebellum women writers saw their authorial careers as by-products of their primary identities as wives and mothers, this later generation initiated a shift in American cultural and literary history towards the New Woman writer who devoted herself to the pursuit of literary excellence and serious recognition. The lives and works of these authors are examined in the context of the birth of American’s high literary culture.
Branigan, Michelle Marie. “A Biography of Frances Brand, An American Painter and Social Activist.” Folklore and American Studies, Indiana University, November 1998.
This dissertation is a biography of the American artist and social activist Frances Brand (1901–1990). Interdisciplinary in nature, it chronicles the artistic and political achievements of Brand, examines the motives and ideals behind her work, and analyzes her notions of democracy, citizenship, and artistic value. This work addresses the problems of interpretation of both oral and visual narrative evidence. Its four organizing themes examine the relationship of folklore to biography, American Studies, the concept of community and museums. In examining the similarities between life histories and biographies it discusses the methodological problems shared by biographers and folklorists. This dissertation also analyzes Brand’s paintings, in particular looking at ways in which the portraits she painted evoke and mediate ties within her community. Finally, it discusses folklore’s contribution to the public sector, looking in particular at its potential alliance with the emerging phenomenon of “ecomuseums.”
Braunberger, Christine C. “Stories in the Flesh: Reading Cultural Narratives of Tattooing in America.” American Studies Program, Purdue University, April 1999.
Utilizing an interdisciplinary approach, this work analyzes literary, theoretical, anthropological, and popular texts in conjunction with field research in order to “read” American cultural narratives surrounding tattoo. My thesis is that the tattooed body is both an object and a subject actively writing to, from, and in collaboration with its culture around a host of body-related issues, including cultural definitions of gender, ethnicity, and class; interpolation of citizens and criminals; going to war; immigrant nostalgia and community building; and desires for artistic expression. By engaging theories of subjectivity, identification, transgression, performance, and the body, this...