Introduction

Imagine that you enter a parlor. You come late. When you arrive, others have long preceded you, and they are engaged in a heated discussion, a discussion too heated for them to pause and tell you exactly what it is about. In fact, the discussion had already begun long before any of them got there, so that no one present is qualified to retrace for you all the steps that had gone before. You listen for a while, until you decide that you have caught the tenor of the argument; then you put in your oar. Someone answers; you answer him; another comes to your defense; another aligns himself against you, to either the embarrassment or gratification of your opponent, depending upon the quality of your ally’s assistance. However, the discussion is interminable. The hour grows late, you must depart. And you do depart, with the discussion still vigorously in progress.

-Kenneth Burke

 

 

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Genius is perseverance. While genius does not consist entirely of editing, without editing it’s pretty useless. -unkown

Greetings! Welcome to my personal and professional blog. This blog is a snapshot of a particular moment of time in my academic career. Currently, I am revising my manuscript, “Shattering Glass Mirrors: A Case for Critical Historiography in Composition Studies” and also revising an article for consideration in the Journal of Advanced Compositionthat considers contributions of Chicano/a-Latino/a scholars to Composition Studies’ scholarship over the past 50 years. The purpose of the book is to recognize the lack of Chicano/a-Latino/a Composition and Rhetoric scholarship through the lenses of Critical Historiographic theory and practice (the topic of my Ph.D. Dissertation). In the process of my research at UCSD, where I gained my Ph.D., I identified a “rhetorical blindspot” or the absence of Mexican American voices in histories of Composition Studies. Furthermore, these voices, once discovered, show another blindspot, the absence of publications focused on Mexican American rhetorical contributions to political and civic rhetoric in the 19th century in the Southwestern region of the United States. In addition to these academic projects in the field Rhetoric and Composition and Chicano/a Studies, I am also working on a short story collection that mixes researched historiography, memoir, auto-ethnography and creative non-fiction. I am elated to finally have a plan to pursue publication of this personal project in the summer of 2015. It is a collection that includes many personal family images and memories that I began to write and collect twenty years ago, when I first entered the doors of academia.

Teaching excellence is a strong aspect of my research mission and has informed my past research interests as well. I have been teaching for 15 years and I get very inspired when I see students learning, thinking, growing and performing beyond their own expectations. My current and past teaching duties include teaching both first year, second year and advanced Composition Courses, serving as the Faculty Director of the UC Merced Undergraduate Research Journal (http://urjournal.ucmerced.edu/), and currently I am teaching an Introduction to Chicano Studies course for the UC Merced School of Social Sciences and Humanities.

My Current Place of Discovery, Teaching and Research

I currently reside in the Central Valley and I teach as a Lecturer at the University of California, Merced. I’ve just finished my fourth year at UC, Merced and I am beyond fortunate to be a part of this new, exciting and growing institution. UC Merced is the newest of 10 UC campuses and it is an official Hispanic Serving Institution. It’s known for having a large population of first-generation college students who come from a variety of regions in California. Many students are from the Central Valley, Northern California and Southern California. While these regions may seem obvious to most colleges in CA, they really encompass a wide variety of urban, suburban and rural areas. The campus, itself, is in close proximity to the beautiful landscapes of the Yosemite mountains and trails and the campus is surrounded by beautiful agricultural landscapes and animals. Merced is a UC campus with its own personality.
California is also a border state and our campus is one of the most diverse of all of the UC campuses, which is why I love it!

I self-identify as a Chicana intellectual and rhetorician and I feel that this position enables me to relate to a wide variety of student backgrounds due to my own varied, bi-cultural background. Pedagogically speaking, I practice the main tenets of Critical Writing Pedagogy that are consistent with James Berlin’s epistemic rhetorical theory which postulates that the process of knowledge making and, hence, writing is collaborative, critical, dialectical and is always “in process”. In addition to leaning on Berlin’s favorite rhetorical theory, I also practice Paula Moya’s “Universalist Multicultural Pedagogy” because I emphasize how all students, regardless of race, class, or gender, can learn from one another’s histories and especially from those histories that have previously been silenced. I arrived at this pedagogical path through a process of trial and error, as I have been studying and teaching first year composition for 15 years and I feel I have honed my pedagogical practice while always remaining open to new and better ways to promote student learning and critical engagement. I am well-read in foundational Composition and Rhetoric scholarship that includes the history of the field, various pedagogical approaches, various research methodologies, various theoretical schools, and various linguistic minority and majority approaches to teaching a variety of students across California. My pedagogical approach has been proven successful as I have practiced it since teaching at UC, San Diego and have carried it over to UC, Merced and it has translated well across student populations which are quite different demographically speaking.

Background

I grew up in the Central Valley. I would like to think that my experience as a Latina growing up in the Central Valley contributes to my ability to be able to connect with my students on various levels, at any geographical location in the U.S. I’m quite fond of California, however, and my particular geographical region. I am also quite fond of the agricultural landscapes and lifestyle of California. I think that California and my home, the Central Valley, are rich areas for experiences, images and landscapes that are rich for literary production and study.

Recently, since obtaining my PhD, I have become very interested in the indigenous past that once was California’s and other parts of the United States. I have embraced my Native American roots and I have committed myself to learning more about my own history. My dissertation seeks to engage this personal interest through scholarship and research and in it I advocate for a Critical Historical teaching pedagogy in the Composition Classroom. My future publications will be devoted to Critical Historiography as a method of scholarship. Please feel free to browse any of the links seen here; however, the site is under construction and it is incomplete. I still have yet to add my publications and more class syllabi. I also want to continue to add to my personal blog from time-to-time. I am currently working on two book projects and I have a twitter account (linked below) where I have promised to tweet on the most recent updates to my writing progress. Thanks for visiting!

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2 thoughts on “Introduction

  1. When you say Critical Historical, what do you mean. I would think from my devotion to histories, that it would require students to be able to critically place events, traditions, etc in cultures different to those they experience today. You’re probably NOT looking for comparative studies in their work, but it seems we can’t escape who we are and how we read other people’s histories and points of view. After all a person from 15 Century Britain would not see its country today or the USA as familiar places.

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