NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – For the eighth annual Bethel College Women’s Association Faculty Public Lecture, Ami Regier, Bethel College professor of literary studies, will examine the German immigrant stories that are part of the most recent novels of Louise Erdrich.
The free lecture is at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 2, in Krehbiel Auditorium of the Fine Arts Center on the Bethel campus. The public is cordially invited.
A brief business meeting for BCWA members will precede the lecture, with a time for refreshments and socializing, open to everyone, in the FAC lobby following the lecture.
Ami Regier has taught at Bethel since 1995 and is just completing her most recent sabbatical. She has a B.A. from Bethel College, an M.A. from Kansas State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California. Many of her courses at Bethel deal with international and cross-cultural literature as a way of reading in relationship to global events and issues. Her recent publications have concerned narrative structures emerging from cross-cultural encounters in Native American literature.
Regier is titling her BCWA presentation “German Immigrant Stories as a Comparative Discourse in the Ojibwe Upper Midwest: How Louise Erdrich Radically Reshapes the Novel with Community Histories.”
The novels to be discussed are The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse (2001), The Master Butchers Singing Club (2003) and The Plague of Doves (2008).
“These are recent novels by Erdrich with narratives about the origins of German immigration to North Dakota all the way through the World War I experience to the farm crisis and the depopulation of the High Plains in the early millennium,” Regier said. “The narratives are set in the context of bicultural communities, including nearby Chippewa (Ojibwe) and other tribal communities, eventually including reservations, and a profoundly community-splitting history of racism.
“The oral stories of immigrants are presented in Erdrich’s larger body of works as a discourse comparative with the function of oral discourse in the oral society of tribal communities,” she continued. “In this presentation, I will trace how Erdrich develops a narrative pattern of turning the novel toward a public historian working at addressing a community perspective as a paradigmatic turn – a somewhat wrenching turn away from the voices that have functioned as protagonists, and toward a voice that pulls the reader to understand communal issues as central.”
“We are in for a fascinating presentation,” said Donna Becker, BCWA president. “Ami’s passion for literature and her contemporary research into an emerging novel form will open new doors of reading experience for the audience.”
For more information about the meeting or the Faculty Lecture, contact Becker at 316-283-5437.
The BCWA Faculty Public Lecture award is open to any Bethel College professor. The lecture is intended to showcase faculty expertise and research interest in a presentation that is interesting and stimulating for the audience. The award carries a $1,000 stipend, with $200 going to the faculty member and the remainder to his/her department to be used at that department’s discretion. Last year’s winner was Francisca Méndez-Harclerode, assistant professor of biology.