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Title:Ethnographic Criticism and Native American Fiction: Cultural Texts, Textual Culture in the Novels of James Welch
Author(s):Nelson, Christopher R.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Parker, Robert Dale
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, Comparative
Abstract:My project examines the processes of discipline formation in studies of Native American fiction using the first three novels of the widely acclaimed writer James Welch---Winter in the Blood (1974), The Death of Jim Loney (1979), and Fools Crow (1986). Through Welch's diverse works, I attend to two levels of critical response: how critics make larger claims about approaches to Native American literature more generally, and how they share what I call an ethnographic mode of criticism defined by its parallels with anthropology and its use of ethnographic materials. I show how the ethnographic approach's structuring of the dominant critical readings obscures the narratives' explorations of identity and textuality that range beyond the preservation of a pure, timeless, traditional Indianness. Reading the criticism alongside the novels allows me to expand the boundaries of study to include analysis of critical motivations, strategies, and effects; to expose the problems and dangers of an unexamined adoption of an ethnographic approach; and to analyze the real-world implications of literary criticism for the larger issues of representation so critical in minority studies.
Issue Date:2002
Description:331 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2002.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3070393
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2002

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