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DepositIndigeneity and Early American Literature

Four conceptualizations of the relationship between indigeneity and early American literature provide a basis for this history and its historiography. Three of these pertain to cultural works produced at least in part by Native Americans: these are (1) written representations of Native American spoken performances, or “oral literature”; (2) writings that register various degrees of participation in literacy practices by Native American converts to Christianity; and (3) cultural works that employ non-alphabetic indigenous sign-systems, or “indigenous literacies.” These formulations variously challenge conventional ideas about literature and related terms such as authorship and writing; in the case of the Christian Indians, they can also challenge notions of indigeneity. A fourth conceptualization of the relationship between indigeneity and early American literature is premised on narrow definitions of these seemingly antithetical terms: it pertains to the aesthetic project of some settler-colonial authors who hoped to connect their prose and verse works to the domestic landscape, to assert their cultural independence from England, and to enact the replacement of Native American cultural traditions with their own.

DepositDecolonizing Indigeneity: New Approaches to Latin American Literature

While there are differences between cultures in different places and times, colonial representations of indigenous peoples generally suggest they are not capable of literature nor are they worthy of being represented as nations. Colonial representations of indigenous people continue on into the independence era and can still be detected in our time. The thesis of this book is that there are various ways to decolonize the representation of Amerindian peoples. Each chapter has its own decolonial thesis which it then resolves. Features studies on the Popol Vuh, Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl, Agustín de Zarate, Rigoberta Menchú & Manuel González Prada

DepositTortured Zionism: Messianism, Ambivalence, and Israel in post-Holocaust Jewish American literature

This dissertation examines post-Holocaust, Jewish American novelists that utilize messianism in their narratives to negotiate ambivalence about Zionism. Studying novels from the mid-1980’s to 2013, I look at the triangular relationship between Jewish American identification, the Holocaust, and Israel, to explore major topics in contemporary Jewry and fiction, including the homeland/ diaspora binary, the Jewish American writer’s ethical responsibility, the legacy of the Holocaust, the complexity surrounding Zionism, and the formalist experimentation of postmodernism. My study begins with Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, and his use of the messianic figure, which works as a fulcrum to examine both the limitations of Holocaust art as a healing device, and post-Holocaust diasporic anxiety; Chabon suggests that this anxiety is exasperated by ambivalent feelings about Israel and a lingering hope in the actualization of the Zionist dream. I continue with Philip Roth’s Israel centered novels, The Counterlife and Operation Shylock, and his non-fictional, The Facts and Patrimony, delineating how Roth both depicts his writer protagonists’ progression towards Jewish collectivity and presents a template for Jewish American solidarity to Zionism. Roth identifies loyalty to Zionism with a Jewishness that is paternally engendered, and, in his rejection of messianic ideology, suggests that his model of Zionism can only exist when Jewish Americans critique Israel with honesty and complexity. My study ends with a gendered reading of Tova Reich’s Israel novels, which portray the disastrous consequences of the collision between messianic extremism and the Jewish mother. Within that dynamic, Reich delineates Zionism’s and Judaism’s patriarchal origins and inconsistencies, and reveals how extremists exploit those patriarchal elements to dangerous excess. Through the novels, Reich tacitly advocates for a complete revamping of Zionism and Judaism that eradicates hierarchy and chosenness and that is aligned with Judith Plaskow’s concept of feminist Judaism. Tortured Zionism utilizes post-colonial, post-Zionist, Jewish, gender, and formalistic hermeneutics to elucidate that contemporary Jewish American writers are rejecting a diasporist approach to Jewish American identity and are solidifying the importance of Israel in the Jewish American imagination, despite and because of the complex issues surrounding Zionism.

DepositENGL 3386: Studies in American Literature “Versioning Digital Humanities”

English 3386 equips students for critical encounters with the texts, images, sounds, and situations that constitute American life, politics, history, and culture. This section is organized around the theme of “Versioning Digital Humanities.” Many texts go through various “versions” as they are revised for republications, corrected for new editions, altered to suit audience responses, and so forth. To respond to the plural states of such texts, readers may draw on various tools, including digitizing, collating, versioning, and visualizing texts individually and in combination. Through a series of essays and formal assignments, students will also improve their understanding of persuasive and correct communication while acquiring the digital humanities skill sets that assist in responding to texts in multiple witnesses.