Heritage, culture, migration studies in Great Plains Quarterly

Released on 03/29/2006, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Lincoln, Neb., March 29th, 2006 —

Since 1984, Louise Erdrich has won acclaim for her novels of contemporary Native Americans in the Great Plains.

In a new study published in the winter issue of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Great Plains Quarterly, Thomas Austenfeld, a German native and professor of English at North Georgia College and State University, explores Erdrich's fictionalized account of her German heritage in "The Master Butchers Singing Club."

Austenfeld wrote, "Before the appearance of 'The Master Butchers Singing Club,' German characters and German lore constituted a noticeable but unobtrusive facet in Erdrich's work." According to Austenfeld, Erdrich is best known for her portrayal of Native American culture, but the influence of her German heritage upon her works has not gone unnoticed.

In an article about western women's lives in contemporary novels, Jennifer Dawes Adkison, assistant professor of English at Idaho State University, wrote about Molly Glass's "The Jump Off Creek" and Nancy E. Turner's "These Is My Words." Adkison said both novels present fictional versions of western women's experiences but have the appearance of true accounts.

In a third article, Robert McLeman, a postdoctoral fellow in geography at the University of Guelph in Ontario, wrote about the migration of a displaced farming population out of rural eastern Oklahoma in the 1930s. McLeman investigated how that population survived during a period of adverse climatic conditions -- the 1930s drought -- with particular attention to those households that migrated to rural California. He described three migration patterns during that decade, which also produced the disparaging term, "Okies."

Great Plains Quarterly is edited by Charles A. Braithwaite and published by the Center for Great Plains Studies at UNL. The journal may be purchased in the Great Plains Art Museum gift shop at 1155 Q St., or by calling the center at (402) 472-3082.

CONTACT: Charles Braithwaite, Editor, Great Plains Quarterly, (402) 472-6178 (cbraithwaite2@unl.edu)