Date of Award

December 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Peter Sands

Committee Members

Jennifer Watson, Andrew Kincaid, Gwynne Kennedy, Ruth Schwertfeger


Gender, Imperialism, Nomad, Postcolonial, Travel Writing, Women


This dissertation examines contemporary travel writing specifically created for a popular reading culture, Rita Golden Gelman's Tales of a Female Nomad, Female Nomad and Friends, and personal website. The project is concerned with how culture is continuously represented and shaped through the dialogic interaction between writer and reader, and the subsequent liminal spaces which emerge in moments of meaning-making. Chapter 1 is a close reading of how Gelman's works reinforce and, in some cases, resist, tropes of imperialism. Chapter 2 examines patriarchal gender roles in Gelman's works and the ways in which recent advances in feminist psychiatry and psychology can radically change our understanding of women's identity formation based on an updated collaborative identity model. Chapter 3 explores the active nature of meaning-making between text, reader, and popular culture utilizing the theoretical framework of reader-response criticism for a reception history of Gelman's texts. In my analysis of the relationship between Gelman as author and her popular readership via print text and web reception, I seek to provide historical context as well as a situated, specific, and tangible exploration of meaning-making for artifacts of popular culture.