Laura Fussell

B.A. in English, University of North Carolina Wilmington, 2008
M.A. in English, University of North Carolina Wilmington, 2010

Research Areas:

Native American Literature, Media, and Culture; Trauma Studies; Indigenous Studies; 20th and 21st Century American Literature, Film, and Culture; Theories of Memory and Affect

Research Interests:

In general, my research examines Indigeneity in the 21st century. More specifically, my research focuses on cultural, historical, and inter/transgenerational trauma in contemporary Native American literature, media, and culture. Often my research investigates or challenges how trauma is understood and represented by Indigenous cultures, and I hope that my work will help to expand on traditional theories of trauma that often ignore or elide the issues of Indigenous trauma while perpetuating a Eurocentric, westernized understanding of trauma, recovery, and healing. In addition, my secondary research interests include Native American representation in pop culture and disability and trauma in contemporary American literature, film, and culture.

Recent Activity:

Recent Conference Presentations

“Runaway Mothers: Intergenerational Trauma and the Boarding/Residential School Legacy in Contemporary Fiction.” The Future of Trauma and Memory Studies Graduate Conference, Urbana-Champaign, IL April 2014.

“Native American Representations in Young Adult Dramas: The Strange Case of Ethan Whitehorse.” Southwest Popular/American Culture Association’s Annual Conference, Albuquerque, NM February 2014.

“Edward Scissorhands, Disability, and the Fetishistic Gaze.” Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association’s Annual Conference, San Diego, CA November 2013.

“Archiving the Trauma of Assimilation: Sherman Indian High School as Living Archive.” UC Riverside’s English Graduate Department’s Annual (Dis)Junctions Conference, Riverside, CA April 2013.

“Living on the Edge: Traumatic Borders in Don DeLillo’s Falling Man.” College English Association’s Annual Conference, Richmond, VA March 2012.

“‘Trawling in Silences’: Fate and Inherited Trauma in Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.” College English Association’s Annual Conference, St. Petersburg, FL April 2011.


Representative, Graduate Student in English Association, UC Riverside, 2012—2013

Co-Chair, Graduate English Association, UNC Wilmington, 2009—2010

Vice-Chair, Graduate English Association, UNC Wilmington, 2008—2009

Local Chapter President, Sigma Tau Delta, UNC Wilmington, 2008


Third Place in Graduate Student Essay Contest, 2013—University of California Riverside English Dept.

Outstanding Graduate Student Award, 2010—University of North Carolina Wilmington English Dept.