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AbstractIn his Literary History of Alberta, George Melnyk acknowledges writers who create"images of Alberta that continue to influence [Albertans]" (xv). This thesis begins the process of seeking out and investigating those images. I utilize Homi Bhabha's call to focus on what identities do or what is done in their names to argue that Alberta writing bears the marks of attempts to contain Alberta while it also provides evidence of vigorous resistance. Chapters One and Two establish the paradigms for my investigation. I provide a post-colonial framework through Bhabha, Edward Said, and Stephen Slemon, and I determine a working definition of Alberta writing by tracing similar arguments through Canadian and prairie literature. A prevalent Alberta image is that of the Caucasian male rancher, farmer, cowboy, or petroleum-industry worker. Turn of the previous-century promotional images and James Oliver Curwood's fiction appear to consolidate this male portrait of Alberta, but circulating in and around these narratives are the spectral presences of desirable women, figures for Jacques Derrida's revenants who are also"arrivants to whom a hospitable memory of promise must offer welcome" (Specters of Marx 175). In textual conversations with these phantoms, I remark multiple hauntings of Alberta space. The remaining chapters trace four Alberta specters. Sharon Pollock's, Nell Shipman's, Isabel Paterson’s, Aritha van Herk's, Henry Kreisel's, Suzette Mayr's, Robert Kroetsch's, and Gloria Sawai's work reveals engagements with and challenges to Alberta's desirable women in Chapter Three. Chapter Four explores the hauntings of Alberta's histories through van Herk's, James G. MacGregor's, Fred Stenson's, Howard O'Hagan's, Thomas Wharton's, Rudy Wiebe's, Peter Oliva's, Merna Summers', and Brad Fraser's writing. Chapter Five examines specters of Alberta's indigenous peoples and immigrants of colour in texts by John Wilson Bengough, Thomas King, Marilyn Dumont, Rudy Wiebe and Yvonne Johnson, Weyman Chan, Joy Kogawa, Hiromi Goto, and Claire Harris. Chapter Six considers Alberta's commodification, the promise of wealth for those who come to Alberta, and responses to these configurations. In addition to a revisitation of texts from previous chapters, this chapter investigates works by Robert Stead, Laura Hillenbrand, Winnifred Eaton, W. Mark Giles, and Leona Gorn.
Bibliography: p. 396-418
CitationFehr, J. A. (2005). (Re)writing Alberta (Unpublished doctoral thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB. doi:10.11575/PRISM/2521
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