|dc.description.abstract||Under Water is a literary novel that follows the life experiences of Jess, a solo female scuba diving instructor living and working on Roatan, an island off the coast of Honduras. She learns of the death of her father on the same day she is responsible for the death of a diver under her care. She leaves the island shortly thereafter, only to return five years later at the disappearance of George, a friend and father figure. In the Encyclopedia of Utopian Literature, Mary Ellen Snodgrass defines utopia as a search for a "good place," or "a longing that haunts the unconscious . . . [a] desire for respite, a stopping place." Similarly, Jess' search for a "good place" structures her quest make a home for herself in Honduras even after experiences of trauma and loss.
The critical introduction to the novel includes two research articles in the field of nineteenth-century women's travel narratives and transnational utopian fiction. The first, "Nation as Utopia in Pauline Hopkins' novel Of One Blood; Or, The Hidden Self and The Colored American Magazine," takes an intratextual approach to Hopkins' serial utopian novel in order to resituate African American serial texts within a larger network of national utopian thought. The second, "Science, Utopia, and Mary Kingsley's Narratives of Travel in Africa," expands upon imperialist considerations of nineteenth-century women's travel writing to show how Victorian women travel writers deployed utopian discourse as a means to negotiate their gendered subject position. The primary aim for both my critical and creative work is to contribute to ongoing efforts to show how women writers deployed utopian thought as a means to situate themselves within circulating national, scientific, or literary communities.||en