"This volume continues and extends the efforts of scholars who have begun to introduce their own lives and experiences as social factors in the scholarship of language and literature."
—from the Introduction
In Personal Effects, Holdstein and Bleich compile a volume that cuts across the grain of current orthodoxy. These editors and contributors argue that it is fundamental in humanistic scholarship to take account of the personal and collective experiences of scholars, researchers, critics, and teachers. They contend that humanistic inquiry cannot develop successfully at this time without reference to the varieties of subjective, intersubjective, and collective experience of teachers and researchers. In composition studies, they point out, an important strand of theory has continuously mined the personal experience of individual writers ("where they stand" even in a destabilized sense of that idea). "[S]uch substantive accounts of the 'inner' academic life provide appropriate and rich contexts for further study and analysis." With this volume, then, these scholars move us to explore the intersections of the social with subjectivity, with voice, ideology, and culture, and to consider the roles of these in the work of academics who study writing and literature. Taken together, the essays in this collection carry forward the idea that the personal, the candidly subjective and intersubjective, must be part of the subject of study in humanities scholarship. They propose an understanding of the personal in scholarship that is more helpful because more clearly anchored in human experience.