Graduate Student Julie Williams was awarded the Doctoral Conference Presentation Award from the Office of Graduate Studies to fund her travel to Philadelphia to present her work at the Society for the Study of American Women Writers Conference. The award provides $1000 to support graduate student travel to present at academic conferences. Williams presented a section from her dissertation which examines literary, historical, and cultural texts about embodied experiences that challenge the narrative identity created by discourses about the West. Her project creates a space for, and a discourse about stories about bodies that have not been central to cultural conceptions of the West: women with non-normative gender and sexual identities, American Indian women writers, TB patients, Las Vegas dancers and beauty queens, and people with disabilities. Williams presentation, “Taking Control of Narrative Destiny in Life Among the Paiutes: Their Wrongs and Claims” is from the second chapter of her dissertation, Embodying the West: A Literary and Cultural History of Environment, Body, and Belief.

Williams has presented other pieces from her dissertation at other conferences as well: “Waist High in the West: The Visual Culture of Disabilities and Western Literature” at the Western Literature Association Conference in Reno, Nevada October 14-18, 2015; and “Creation of Narrative Community in Designs of the Night Sky” at the American Indian Studies Association Conference in Tempe, Arizona February 4-8, 2016.