Date of Award

12-1-2010

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Speech Communication

First Advisor

Pineau, Elyse

Abstract

While scholars of ruin have long foregrounded the importance of imagination in encountering sites of ruin, they have failed to provide concrete examples of their own imaginative experiences. This dissertation is a collection of aesthetically rendered moments at various sites of ruined landscapes and of the autobiographical (in)sights of loss I have gleaned in their presence. In speaking from a concept I refer to as the autobiographical imaginative--a performative exchange between land and self where life narratives are summoned as a result of land's presence--this project weaves biographical stories of landscapes and others with stories of my own autobiography. As such, the work utilizes multiple interpretive, ethnographic methods and representational strategies, including documentary ethnography, autoethnography, performative writing, and performance auto/ethnography, as a means of illustrating the dialogic, reflexive, evocative, and fluid relationship among researched and researcher, site and self. In doing so, it reveals how land can signify lived experience, extending the traditional geography-centered notion of landscapes toward the creation of memoryscapes, bodyscapes, and mediascapes.

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