Spurgeon works in literatures of the American West and Southwest as well as nature/environmental writing, gender studies, and postcolonial theory. She is the author of Exploding the Western: Myths of Empire on the Postmodern Frontier, co-author of Writing the Southwest, and editor of the critical anthology Cormac McCarthy. She has published essays on Ana Castillo, Cormac McCarthy, Martin Cruz Smith, feminist theory in the borderlands, the relationship between literature, water policy, and public discourse in the American West, and co-authored an essay on the film Brokeback Mountain. She serves on the Executive Council of the Western Literature Association, the Advisory Board of the Western Writers Series, and the Editorial Board of the journal Western American Literature. Her current book project examines narratives of sovereignty in indigenous sci fi/fantasy/alt history.Edited Collections
Essays/Chapters in Books
- Ana Castillo: Western Writers Series (No. 163). Boise: Boise State University Press. 2004. (Monograph booklet, 56 pages)
- "'The bomb was like the Indians': Trickster Mimetics and Native Nationalism in Martin Cruz Smith's The Indians Won," American Quarterly, 66.4 (2014): 999-1020.
- Interview with Larry McMurtry, Southwestern American Literature, 40.1 (Fall 2014): 47-79.
- "Miracles in the Desert: Literature, Water, and Public Discourse in the American West," ISLE (Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment). 16.3 (2009) [refereed]
- "The Cyborg Coyote: Generating Theory in the Borderlands," Southwestern American Literature. 24.2 (2009) [refereed]
- "Mimesis and the Bomb: Race, Masculinity, and (de) Colonial Identities in Martin Cruz Smith's Stallion Gate," Southwestern American Literature. 34.1 (2008): 29-40.
- "Conversing Brokeback Mountain's Varied Spaces and Contested Desires," With Scott Baugh, O. Alan Weltzien, and Donovan Gwinner, Intertexts [refereed] 10.2 (2007).
- "Pledged in Blood": Truth and Redemption in Cormac McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses," Western American Literature. [refereed] 34.1 (1999) : 24-44.
Essays/Chapters in Books
- "The Removes of Harriot Stuart: Charlotte Lennox and the Birth of the Western." Before the West was West, ed. Amy Hamilton and Tom Hillard. University of Nebraska Press, 2014.
- "Introduction." Cormac McCarthy: All the Pretty Horses, No Country for Old Men, The Road, ed. Sara Spurgeon. London: Continuum Press. 2011. 1-23.
- "The Sacred Hunter and the Eucharist of the Wilderness: Mythic Reconstructions in Blood Meridian." Cormac McCarthy: New Visions, ed. James Lilley. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. 2002. 75-99.
Book Reviews (invited)
- Narrating the American West: New Forms of Historical Memory. Jordana Finnegan. For Western American Literature. 44.1 (Spring 2009) : 79-80.
- Mary Austin's Southwest: An Anthology of Her Literary Criticism. Ed. Chelsea Blackbird and Barney Nelson. For Western American Literature. 41.4 (2007) : 471-472.
- Indian Country: Travels in the American Southwest, 1840-1935. Martin Padget. For Western American Literature. 40.4 (2006) : 487-488.
- Continuum Contemporaries Reader's Guide to Cormac McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses. Stephen Tatum. For Western American Literature. 38.1 (2003) : 101-102.
- Myth, Legend, Dust: Critical Responses to Cormac McCarthy, ed. Rick Wallach. For Western American Literature. 37.4 (2003) : 504.
- Women Singing in the Snow: A Cultural analysis of Chicana Literature.Tey Diana Rebolledo. For Western American Literature. 33.1 (1997) : 141-142.
- Yellow Woman and a Beauty of the Spirit: Essays on Native American Life Today. Leslie Marmon Silko. For Western American Literature. 31.2 (1996) : 171-172.
Encyclopedia Entries (invited)
- "Frank Waters". The Literary Encyclopedia. 10 March 2009. [http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=5714, accessed 14 August 2009.]
- "Teresa in Ana Castillo's Mixquiahuala Letters." Student Encyclopedia of American Literary Characters, volume 1. Ed. M.J. Bruccoli and R. Layman. NY: Facts on File. (2008) : 159-161.
- "Joy Harjo" program script, with David K. Dunaway, for "Writing the Southwest," an NEH sponsored, thirteen-part radio documentary series, aired nationally on public and community radio stations, October 1996.
- "John Nichols" program script, with David K. Dunaway, for "Writing the Southwest."
- "Riverman." Paradise. Eds. Childrey, Sink and Meece. Sarasota, FL: Florida Literary Foundation Press. 1993. 164-173.
- "Palace Avenue." The Bridge: A Journal of Fiction and Poetry. 2.2 (1992) : 40-53.
- "White is White." The Bridge: A Journal of Fiction and Poetry. .3 (1992) : 101-107.
- "The Plant Lady." Stiller's Pond. Eds. Agee, Blakely, and Welch. 2nd Edition. St. Paul, MN:New Rivers Press. 1991. 438-442.
- 'White is White." Side Show. Eds. Anderson, Jacobs, and Stolz. El Cerrito, CA: Somersault Press. 1991. 212-217.
- "The Plant Lady." Hudson Valley Echoes: A National Journal of Prose and Poetry. 3.21 (1991): 30-35.
- President's Faculty Fellow, Office of the President, Texas Tech University, 2013/2014
- Nominee--Annette Kolodny Prize for Best Essay on Environment and Culture (for "Miracles in the Desert: Literature, Water, and Public Discourse in the American West) 2010
- Nominee--Thomas J. Lyon Award for Best Book on the Literature and Culture of the American West (for Exploding the Western: Myths of Empire on the Postmodern Frontier) 2005
- Recipient--University of Arizona Provost Author's Support Fund Award (for Exploding the Western: Myths of Empire on the Postmodern Frontier) 2004
- Director of Graduate Studies, 2014-2015
- President, Western Literature Association, 2012
- Co-Director, LSJE (Literature, Social Justice, Environment) Concentration, Texas Tech University Department of English, 2008-Present
- Co-Editor, Literature and Culture Handbook Series, Bloomsbury Publishing
- Member, Editorial Board, Western American Literature: Quarterly Journal of the Western Literature Association
- Member, Editorial Board, Western Writers Series, Boise State University Press
- Modern Languages Association
- Western Literature Association
- Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment
- American Studies Association
- Phi Kappa Phi Academic Honor Society
- Cormac McCarthy: All the Pretty Horses, No Country for Old Men, The Road. Continuum Studies in Contemporary North American Fiction Series. London: Continuum Publishing Group. 2011. (176 pages)
- Exploding the Western: Myths of Empire on the Postmodern Frontier. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press. 2005. (168 pages)
- Writing the Southwest, revised second edition. With David K. Dunaway. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. 2003. (268
- Writing the Southwest. With David K. Dunaway. New York: Plume/Penguin. 1995. (256 pages)