Extends the borders of essay scholarship by reading Latin American and Latino/a essayists alongside European and American ones.
Scholarship on the personal essay has focused on Western European and U. S. varieties of the form. In Traversing the Democratic Borders of the Essay, Cristina Kirklighter extends these boundaries by reading the Latin American and Latino/a essayists Paulo Freire, Victor Villanueva, and Ruth Behar, alongside such canonical figures as Montaigne, Bacon, Emerson, and Thoreau. In this fascinating journey into the commonalities and differences among these essayists, Kirklighter focuses on various elements of the personal essay—self-reflexivity, accessibility, spontaneity, and a rhetoric of sincerity—in order to argue for a more democratic form of writing in academia, one that would democratize the academy and promote nation-building. By using these elements in their teachings and writings, Kirklighter argues, educators can play a significant role in helping others who experience academic alienation achieve a better sense of belonging as they slowly dismantle the walls of the ivory tower.
Cristina Kirklighter is Assistant Professor of English at Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi. She is the coeditor of Voices and Visions: Refiguring Ethnography in Composition.
"Students and scholars at all points on the theoretical spectrum will find this a stimulating read. " — CHOICE
"A rare and engaging book. Kirklighter speaks eloquently and persuasively, from the vantage points of tradition and personal experience, of the essay's power as a more democratic, more accessible, and more inclusive form of scholarly communication. " — Xin Liu Gale, author of Teachers, Discourses, and Authority in the Postmodern Composition Classroom
"Written in a clear and accessible style, this book will be of great interest to critics and scholars working in the field of critical literacy and pedagogy, as well as those in the fields of Latino/a and Inter-American Studies. " — Santiago Juan-Navarro, author of Archival Reflections: Postmodern Fiction of the Americas (Self-Reflexivity, Historical Revisionism, Utopia)