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JA N R O U S H Utah State University Research in Western American Literature: 1993-94 A first glance at who wrote what about which subjects related to western American literature during this past year promises more diver­ sity than is actually there. Titles focusing on particular authors abound and seem to involve a wide variety of topics, including the now familiar ones concerned with works by Willa Cather and Mark Twain. Indeed, topics focusing on Cather lead all other categories by a significant proportion. Topics focusing on Twain have dropped off considerably, perhaps as part ofa trend awayfrom the status quo ofwhite, male writers who have traditionally dominated western American literature. There is also a trend evident in a variety of works that, whether focusing on individual authors who could generally be classified as minority writers or on specific subjects, all reflect an increasing interest in nature and a concern for the environment. And that’s what I mean about a promise of diversity that is not really there. In addition to titles like ‘The Enlightened Naturalist: Ecological Romanticism in American Literature,” “Dripping Dry: Literature, Poli­ tics and Water in the Desert Southwest,” or “In Sympathy with Nature: American Nature Writing and Environmental Politics” that directly hinge on nature or the politics associated with it, other, less obvious, titles reflect this increasing concern for the land we occupy—sometimes not wisely, sometimes not well. Some dissertations focus on authors known for their ecological concerns, as in “Perceptions of the Land­ scape in Twentieth Century American Literature: Landscapes from Four American Regional Writers (Wallace Stegner, Ivan Doig, Jack Kerouac, and Wendell Berry)” or “The Primacy of Place in Gary Snyder’s EcologicalVision.”Other titles reflecting this awareness of our environment are more subtle, their ties with nature obvious only if one is aware that nature looms large with Native Americans, for example, 324 WesternAmerican Literature and with many women writers ofwestern American literature. With this in mind, such titles as “Measuring Others by Themselves: Images of Native Americans in American Literature, 1607-1887”or ‘The Compli­ cated Web: Mediating Cultures in the Works of Louise Erdrich”take on additional meaning. In addition to this emphasis on the significance of nature in western American literature, other trends can be noted: an increased awareness of the impact of other cultures on the literature of the West, seen in both works about other cultures as well as works by writers from these cultures, and an increasing number of titles that focus on specifi­ cally Native American concerns. Such trends only underscore the in­ creasing richness and dynamic nature ofwestern American literature. COMPLETED MASTERS THESES: Modem Literature Allison, Kimberlyjo Psychological, Cultural, and Gender Crises: Perception ofIdentity in Louise Erdrich’s Love Medicine. (M.A.) Texas Woman’s University, 1993. Church, Laura Elizabeth True Stories: Life-Writings of Frontier Women, 1850-1930. (M.A.) University ofAlberta (Canada), 1992. Marubbio, Miriam Elise The Edge of the Abyss: Metamorphosis as Reality in Contemporary Native American Literature. (M.A.) The University ofArizona, 1993. American Literature Connelly, PatrickJames A Poetry of Being: A Reading of Gary Snyder’s Poetry. (M.A.) Northeast Missouri State University, 1993. Curton, Carman C. Women Becoming: A Feminist Critical Analysis of Mother-Daughter Rela- Research 325 tionships in Amy Tan’s TheJoy-Luck Cluband The Kitchen God’s Wife. (M.A.) University of North Texas, 1993. Davis, Elizabeth (Lisa) J. Ultima as Earth Mother in Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me, Ultima. (M.A.) Texas Woman’s University, 1993. Emerson, Gaile Backstrom LaFuerza de la Tierra: Physical and Cultural Landscapes in Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me, Ultima. (M.A.) Texas Woman’s University, 1993. Groot, Stefanie The Role of Personal Writing in Narrator Development: Stegner’s All the Little Live Things, Angle ofRepose, The SpectatorBird, and Crossingto Safety. (M.A.) University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1994. Tharpe, Deborah Willa Cather and the Male Obstacle: An Examination of Female Empower­ ment and Emancipation in OPioneers!and The Song oftheLark. (M.A.) Central Missouri State, 1992. COMPLETED Ph.D., Ed.D., and D.A. DISSERTATIONS: Art History Rindge, Debora Anne The Painted Desert: Images of the American West from the Geological and Geographical Surveys...


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