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Mission Statement for WLA Houston

For its annual 2003 meeting, set in the very “new western” city of Houston, Texas, the Western Literature Association presents papers attending to the ways that regional culture and literature have been transformed by the Vietnam War, the end of the Cold War, and the spread of globalization (finance capital; new communications technologies; consumerism). What is the fate of the region, and the social impact of regionalist identities and endeavors, in a globalizing urban consumer society?

WLA-Houston, held at the upscale Westin Galleria Mall, serves as an ideal site for our efforts to make critical sense of the contemporary scene. As always, WLA offers papers and creative readings on all aspects of western writing, society, and culture.  This year we focus on some of the more puzzling phenomena in recent memory. How might critics theorize narratives of newer immigrants to the West—from Vietnam, south Asia, Nigeria, non-Mexican Latin America, and the Middle East? What is to be the fate of Chicano/a Studies amidst trends toward transnational comparativism?  As the cultural marketplace evolves into a video/MTV/CNN global village, to what ends are images and stories of western “authenticity” deployed?