College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

Graduation Date

8-2013

Document Type

Thesis

College/Department Conferring Degree

Interdisciplinary Studies

Keywords

narratology, oral history, cultural geography, Ricoeur, identity studies

Abstract

The study of land and geographical place remains to be an important theoretical consideration in the field of Narratology studies. This thesis illustrates how land and geography play a role in the maintenance of traditional culture and narratives in the rural communities of DeKalb and Neshoba counties in Mississippi. The first chapter argues that memory through story can yield significant historical findings in narrative identity. It is here where the discussion on historiography, memory, and narrative introduces a cognitive narratological lens that helps structure the psychological processing of life stories and oral histories. Then, the issues of self and narration and narration as identity in normative practice are used to support the oral history argument. The theories of Paul Ricoeur, the theories of Hayden White, and the historical consciousness theories of French sociologist Maurice Halbwachs are discussed at length in an interdisciplinary manner. Chapter two expands on the discussion of geography’s role in the maintenance of the traditional culture and narratives of this region. Upon completion, this chapter shows that physical location is an imperative link to understanding narrative identity and should be included in the new narratological discourse. The results of the research indicate that there are various limitations of the research including power relations and institutional impact. The summary concludes with suggestions for the future trajectory of the field such as the inclusion of cultural geography.

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