Troubling Place: Feminist Regional Narratives Navigate Intersections, Tensions, and Silences
This dissertation investigates critical regionality as a means of cultural critique and a form of cultural production, highlighting the power of regional narratives to foster generative relationships within local landscapes and conceptualize new ways for troubling local-global networks. Expanding on theories of place to account for transformations of a global culture, my project frames critical regionalism as a rhetorical approach that enables actors to communicate realities, act on interconnections, and navigate tensions between identity and place. Through close analysis of narratives by Kate Chopin, Zitkála-Šá, Annie Proulx, and Karen Tei Yamashita, I argue that notions of place inform, ignore, and intersect with coded perceptions of gender, racial difference, sexuality, and environmental agency. Drawing on walking methodologies, this study concludes by proposing a praxis for place-based investigations in the English studies classroom, illustrated by examples of (Texas) regionality. Expanding the rhetorical study of place and community as manifested in these feminist regional narratives, I argue for the ways in which places--both real and imagined, specific and general--shape worldviews, circumscribe positionalities, and influence our connection with others.