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Frost, Linda

Frost, Linda

PERSONAL:

Education: State University of New York at Stony Brook, Ph.D., 1990.

ADDRESSES:

Office—University of Alabama at Birmingham, Department of English, HB 215, 1530 3rd Ave. S., Birmingham, AL 35294-1260. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer, poet, reviewer, editor, and educator. University of Alabama at Birmingham, associate professor of English and associate director of the honors program.

MEMBER:

Research Society of American Periodicals (past president).

WRITINGS:

Never One Nation: Freaks, Savages, and Whiteness in U.S. Popular Culture, 1850-1877, University of Minnesota Press (Minneapolis, MN), 2005.

Contributor to books, including Generations: Academic Feminists in Dialogue, edited by Devoney Looser and E. Ann Kaplan, University of Minnesota Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1997; Rhetoric in an Antifoundational World: Language, Culture, and Pedagogy, edited by Michael Bernard-Donals and Richard R. Gleizer, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1998; Blue Pencils and Hidden Hands: Women Editing Periodicals, 1830-1910, edited by Ellen Gruber Garvey and Sharon M. Harris, Northeastern University Press (Boston, MA), 2004; Best American Poetry, Best American Essays, and New Stories from the South.

Contributor to periodicals, including ESQ, Minnesota Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Columbia, Witness, Rhino, and Early American Literature. Editor-in-chief, PMS poemmemoirstory.

SIDELIGHTS:

Writer, historian, and educator Linda Frost is an associate professor of English at the University of Alabama. As an academic and researcher, she specializes in nineteenth-century American writing and culture, creative writing, and feminist theory. In addition to her work in the university's English department, Frost also teaches in the University of Alabama's American studies program, women's studies department, and honors program, where she also serves as associate director. Frost edits the journal PMS poemmemoirstory, which a biographer on the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of English Web site noted is the "only women's literary journal in Alabama."

In Never One Nation: Freaks, Savages, and Whiteness in U.S. Popular Culture, 1850-1877, Frost looks carefully at the history of race and national identity during an almost twenty-five-year period when the U.S. was divided by the Civil War, westward expansion, increased immigration, conflict with Native Americans, and the repercussions of emancipation. During this period, American national identity was strongly influenced by local as well as national factors. She explores periodicals and publications of the period to examine issues of racial "whiteness," Americanness, and acceptable national identity, and how those who didn't fit those definitions were portrayed as freaks, undesirable others, non-Americans, even non-humans. She describes how these portrayals of class, sex, and race in popular literature and newspapers, and in the museums of showman P.T. Barnum, "defined who was, and who was not, an American," noted a reviewer in Reference & Research Book News. The author describes a time in which Native Americans were often presented as exhibits in circuses and freak shows, and in which the "savagery" they represented was a threat to all sectors of white society.

Frost details the rise of regional periodicals in the South and West, which published material designed to exploit the racial and cultural prejudices already in place. Being white—Caucasian—was the preferred state endorsed by these publications, and those who were other than white were considered dangerous outsiders. "The book is stunning in the way it links what the author refers to as ‘Blinding Whiteness’ to the divisions in the country in the mid-nineteenth century," remarked June Namias in the Journal of Southern History. "It is this concentration on regions and readers that makes Never One Nation such a valuable contribution to understanding America's racial form(ul)ation," commented Kenneth Salzer in Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers. Frost's book is "at its best when highlighting the differences between regions and groups in the United States at mid-century," Namias concluded.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Choice, June, 2006, W. Glasker, review of Never One Nation: Freaks, Savages, and Whiteness in U.S. Popular Culture, 1850-1877, p. 1888.

Journal of American Ethnic History, fall, 2006, Martin A. Berger, review of Never One Nation.

Journal of American History, March, 2007, Benjamin Reiss, review of Never One Nation, p. 1265.

Journal of Popular Culture, October, 2006, Mary Cathryn Cain, review of Never One Nation, p. 898.

Journal of Southern History, February, 2007, June Namias, review of Never One Nation, p. 184.

Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers, June, 2006, Kenneth Salzer, review of Never One Nation, p. 207.

Reference & Research Book News, February, 2006, review of Never One Nation.

Western Historical Quarterly, spring, 2007, Derek Chang, review of Never One Nation, p. 89.

ONLINE

University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of English Web site,http://www.uab.edu/ (February 19, 2008), biography of Linda Frost.

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