american literature · dissertation · Ethnicity Studies · graduate school · Native American Studies

notes on Todd Downing

I’m working on the final chapter in my dissertation. The focus is Todd Downing, an Oklahoma-born Choctaw who wrote detective fiction in the 1930s and 1940s. His featured detective, Hugh Rennert, works for the U.S. Department of the treasury–work that often takes him into Mexico where he finds himself the witness or bystander in murder…… Continue reading notes on Todd Downing

African American Studies · american literature · Ethnicity Studies · graduate school · Native American Studies

Thoughts on Essentialism/Antiessentialism in (anti)Race Discourse

I’ve been reading lots and lots and lots and lots of theory lately. I have my comprehensive exams for my PhD coming up. I’m doing a lot with the concept of ethnicity in my work, since I decided to craft a reading list that looks at ethnic literature around the United States. I have some…… Continue reading Thoughts on Essentialism/Antiessentialism in (anti)Race Discourse

american literature · Ethnicity Studies · graduate school · Politics of Education

Culture and Imperialism: a brief note

One thing to sum up my experience reading this book: exhausting. Often when I read theory I wish there were more concrete examples, so I can make sure I understand the point trying to be made. Not so with Edward Said. He’s nothing but examples. Exhaustive examples. I got his point 30 pages in. This…… Continue reading Culture and Imperialism: a brief note

american literature · Ethnicity Studies · graduate school · Writing

Connecting the Dots: Intellectual Collage

I remember being part of a focus group my senior year as an undergraduate. It was my English Capstone course, and this sociology student came in and asked us questions about how we felt about the course. Most of us were disgruntled. The course seemed designed for students who had never held jobs and hadn’t…… Continue reading Connecting the Dots: Intellectual Collage

american literature · Ethnicity Studies · Ethnography · graduate school · Native American Studies · Writing

James Clifford and the Predicament of Culture

Early in my academic career, I encountered Paula Gunn Allen. A woman of Laguna-Sioux and Lebanese American heritage, she is the first indigenous studies scholar I encountered. I read her essay “Kochinnenako in Academe: Three Approaches to Interpreting a Keres Indian Tale” in my undergraduate literary and critical theory course. I was a senior,┬áin my…… Continue reading James Clifford and the Predicament of Culture

american literature · fiction · graduate school

Faulkner’s Ecology: Thoughts on Light in August

I just finished reading William Faulkner’s Light in August. It’s not his most narratively complex novel, and perhaps one of the more readily accessible. Still, Faulkner often causes impatience because he doesn’t see fit to leave anything out. Every thought, every psychological crevice of every character is thoroughly explored. And, he doesn’t stop there. Faulkner…… Continue reading Faulkner’s Ecology: Thoughts on Light in August