Paris Masek PhD Defense: "From Coyote to Food: The Transmergent Materiality Embedded in Southwestern Pueblo Literature"
Committee members include: Simon J. Ortiz (Chair), James Blasingame, and Ron Broglio. :: ABSTRACT: The coyote of the natural world is an anthropomorphic figure that occupies many places within Southwestern Pueblo cultures in oral traditions as well as the natural environs. The modern-day coyote is a marginalized occupant of Southwestern milieu portrayed as such iconic characters found in cartooned animations or conceptualized as a shadowed symbol of a doglike creature howling in front of a rising full moon. Coyote is a label given to a person that transports undocumented immigrants across the United States-Mexico border. This wild dog is also known as coyote, Coyote, Canis latrans, tutskie (Keres for coyote), trickster, Wylie Coyote, and coywolf. When the biology, history, accounts, myths, and cultural constructs are placed together within the spectrum of coyote names or descriptions a transmergent materiality emerges from the center of those contributing factors. Coyote is many things. It is constantly adapting to the environment in which it has survived for millions of years. The Southwest landscape was first occupied by rudimentary components of life evolving into a place populated by animals, followed by humans. To a great extent, human's and animals' continued existence relies on their ability to obtain food and find a suitable niche in which to live. This dissertation unpacks how the coyote embedded in American Pueblo literature and culture depicts a transmergent materiality representing the constantly changing human-animal interface as it interprets the likewise transformative state of food systems in the present day American Southwest.