Ph.D. University of Arizona
Literature-American West and Southwest
Spurgeon works in literatures of the American West and Southwest, as well as nature/environmental writing, gender studies, and critical indigenous and decolonial theory. She is the author of Exploding the Western: Myths of Empire on the Postmodern Frontier, co-author of Writing the Southwest, editor of the critical anthology Cormac McCarthy, and co-editor of Weird Westerns: Race, Gender, Genre. She has published essays on Ana Castillo, Cormac McCarthy, Brokeback Mountain, and indigenous speculative fiction, comics, and sci fi. She founded and co-directs the Literature, Social Justice, and Environment Program (LSJE) in the Department of English, which includes a graduate concentration and undergraduate minor. In 2019/2020, Spurgeon was a Fulbright Professor of American Literature and Culture at the University of Bergen, Norway.
- Weird Westerns: Race, Gender, Genre. Co-editors Michael Johnson, Kerry Fine, and Rebecca Lush. University of Nebraska Press. 2020.
- 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 pages)
- Writing the Southwest. With David K. Dunaway. New York: Plume/Penguin. 1995. (256 pages)
- 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)
- "The Cyborg Coyote: Generating Theory in the Borderlands," Southwestern American Literature. 24.2 (2009)
- "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. 10.2 (2007).
- "Pledged in Blood": Truth and Redemption in Cormac McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses," Western American Literature. 34.1 (1999) : 24-44.
Essays/Chapters in Books
“Indians, Aliens, and Superheroes: Countering Silence and the Invisual in David Mack's Echo: Vision Quest.” Aesthetic Apprehensions: Silences and Absences in False Familiarities. Eds. Lene Johannessen and Jena Lee Habegger-Conti. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. Due 2020.
“Introduction,” Weird Westerns: Race, Gender, Genre. Co-authors Kerry Fine, Rebecca Lush, and Michael Johnson. Eds. Kerry Fine, Rebecca Lush, Michael Johnson, and Sara Spurgeon. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. 2020.
“Indianizing the Western: Semiotic Tricksterism in William Sanders' Journey to Fusang.” Weird Westerns: Race, Gender, Genre. Eds. Kerry Fine, Rebecca Lush, Michael Johnson, and Sara Spurgeon. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. 2020.
- "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