Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

1-1-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D. in English

Department

English

First Advisor

Jay Watson

Second Advisor

Jarod Roll

Third Advisor

Jaime Harker

Relational Format

dissertation/thesis

Abstract

“Book of Empire” reveals that contrary to what is often suggested by scholars, modernism is not a moment of secularization and declining faith and that the Bible is actually a resource for mounting a radical critique of empire, nation-building, and racial oppression that defies conservative notions supporting those undertakings. For Willa Cather, William Faulkner, and Zora Neale Hurston, the Bible is a source of moral authority they use to challenge the imperialist, colonialist, and nativist projects of the twentieth-century U.S. In rebranding the Bible as politically radical, these writers are not denying the authority of the Bible, but are re-appropriating it for their socially dynamic purposes, suggesting that conservatives are not reading the Bible correctly. If they were, they would find critique of empire, nationalism, and racial oppression—elements of a progressive agenda in a text too often enlisted to defend the status quo.

Available for download on Thursday, July 23, 2020

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