Relocating the Personal

A Critical Writing Pedagogy

By Barbara Kamler
Foreword by Michelle Fine

Subjects: Composition And Rhetoric Studies
Paperback : 9780791448120, 222 pages, February 2001
Hardcover : 9780791448113, 222 pages, February 2001

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Table of contents



1. Space, Time, Embodied Texts

2. Relocating Voice And Transformation

3. Stories of Ageing

4. Who Said Argumentative Writing Isn't Personal?

5. Critical Spaces for Learning to Teach Writing

6. Language, Gender, Writing

7. The Politics of the Personal: New Metaphors, New Practices



A rich array of interesting ways to teach personal writing critically and in settings where it has typically been excluded.


Addressing the current and growing interest in the personal, the self, and the autobiographical not only in the teaching of writing, but also across many disciplinary and subject fields, Relocating the Personal describes a rich array of practical approaches to teaching the personal in settings where it has been excluded.

The author argues for the teaching of writing as a political project in schools and communities, and for a notion of the personal which is not simply equated with voice. The construct of narrative is preferred, because it allows teachers to examine all personal writing as a representation and not the same thing as the writer's life. Strategies are developed for examining how experience is portrayed and how it might be written differently, with material effects on both the personal text and the writer's person.

The book incorporates the latest theories of critical and genre literacy as it develops four teaching cases in different education contexts (secondary, undergraduate, graduate, and adult/community).

Barbara Kamler is Associate Professor of Education at Deakin University in Burwood, Australia. She is the editor of Constructing Gender and Difference: Critical Research Perspectives on Early Childhood.


"With Relocating the Personal, Barbara Kamler offers readers two gifts. The first is a rich collection of critical writings, by so many different kinds of students, writing from so many different sites for education. Kamler's second gift is a text on critical pedagogy in which she is herself explicit and self-critical, instructive and generous about the teaching of writing. " — Michelle Fine, from the Foreword

"…most engaging for the ways it maintains a steady focus on personal writing within a post-structuralist framework. In an age when personal writing seems open to criticisms leveled by post-structuralism, Kamler resolutely defines ways that keep the personal without sacrificing, in fact by embracing, post-structuralist theories of language. She does so in a way that presents personal writing as a vital aspect of social critique and change. " — Kirk Branch, University of Kansas