The Georgia State University’s Dissertation Library Travel Award, which grants doctoral students with financial assistance to support their research travel, helped Ph.D. student Shana Latimer travel to Texas to gather research for her dissertation topic titled, Disambiguating Dystopia: Readjusting the Critical Lens on Twentieth Century Dystopian Literature.
Latimer visited Texas State University for the Cormac McCarthy archives and the University of Texas at Austin for Kazuo Ishiguro’s archives because her dissertation discusses McCarthy’s book The Road and Ishiguro’s book Never Let Me Go. Fortunately, the two archives were only 45 minutes away from each other, allowing Latimer to navigate between both spaces during the trip.
Latimer’s academic interest in this research area is derived from a passion with dystopian literature, particularly because of the way it engages with society, culture, and politics and how it applies to the real world.
Her favorite part of the research trip was seeing the authors’ commentary, first drafts, and editorial notes. Latimer felt a personal connection with their literature, and she believes that it helped create a different understanding of the author than if she had read a formal interview or literature by the authors. It was also through this experience that Latimer says her writing confidence grew, even the way in which she viewed her work was elevated from the trip.
Latimer hopes that her dissertation will provide a better understanding of the world. She says, “Dystopian literature engages with socioeconomics, politics, religion, and culture at large. It can provide warnings about potential dangers to society.” She adds, “It can also perpetuate stereotypes so she hopes those who are reading her dissertation will think a little bit more carefully about the world in which we live.”
The Dissertation Travel Award is only possible through the support of library donors. To support scholars like Shana, give to the Library Research Award Fund (020061).
Article written in collaboration with Tess Havash