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June 5, 2020 | Andrew Hurst

Waxahachie, TX

Amy George, Ph.D., SAGU Assistant Professor

Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) Professor Dr. Amy George, Ph.D., recently received the “Outstanding Dissertation” award from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) Literature and Criticism program. The program selected her project among only six others.

Her research focused on how poetry, specifically Asian American and Arab American poetry, works to construct portraits of people who have been erroneously portrayed in media or subject to conflations and stereotyping during specific historical events in American history.

Dr. George was inspired to pursue this topic after the Holy Spirit prompted her to write her first research paper for IUP on the treatment of Arab Americans after 9/11. Also, she explains that she gained more interest in Asian American history during a course at IUP.

“What I love about immigrant literature is that there are comparative themes throughout,” she says. “I really appreciated delving into the historical contexts in which the poetry was produced. All literature is a product of a specific time and place, so the poets I studied were often responding in very personal ways to what was going on around them in a large sense as well as to what they were viewing that was happening to their families, so there were multiple perspectives represented.”

Dr. George explained more of her project, expounding on the history of prejudice targeted toward Asian Americans. She shared that Asians were demonized after World War II, and regarded as suspected spies. Arabs (and those assumed to be of Middle Eastern descent) were targeted as potential terrorists following 9/11. Her research examines how six different poets (three Asian American and three Arab Americans) address these issues in their bodies of work, as well as other topics of assumptions and prejudice, such as linguistic prejudice and feminist concerns of objectification.

She found that poetry operated as a way for these poets to explore their parents’ homelands and come to terms with their hybridity and the trauma that comes from war, displacement, and xenophobia. These artists produced work that portrays people from their root countries as individuals to be understood rather than merely grouped in homogeneous portrayals.

“My dissertation required a lot of research preparation because I covered four different intertwined topics with their historical events across six poets’ works. Time was the biggest challenge,” she said.

Because of the hundreds of hours of extensive research, Dr. George was excited to learn how her efforts came to fruition in receiving the award from IUP.

The completion of her dissertation and doctoral studies has also spurred her on to pursue other endeavors. She is optimistic about the future with other projects already in the works.

“I’m currently in talks with two of my IUP classmates about writing a book on the Church and racial reconciliation,” She said. “I’m also going to be working with an organization to help produce and discuss the role of literature in theology and missions.”

As a leading Christian university, SAGU educates and prepares individuals who want to serve Christ and others. SAGU helps students discover and develop their God-given callings in a Spirit-empowered, learning community.

We believe in affordable tuition, made possible in part through the financial support of donors who embrace the mission of SAGU and the importance of affordable, accredited programs to train Christians for leadership in ministry, business, education, and service.

Most majors are available in-person in Waxahachie, TX, and online through a wide range of associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.

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