Responding to contemporary discussion about using personal accounts in academic writing, Personally Speaking: Experience as Evidence in Academic Discourse draws on classical and current rhetorical theory, feminist theory, and relevant examples from both published writers and first-year writing students to illustrate the advantages of blending experiential and academic perspectives.
Candace Spigelman examines how merging personal and scholarly worldviews produces useful contradictions and contributes to a more a complex understanding in academic writing. This rhetorical move allows for greater insights than the reading or writing of experiential or academic modes separately does. Personally Speaking foregrounds the semi-fictitious nature of personal stories and the rhetorical possibilities of evidence as Spigelman provides strategies for writing instructors who want to teach personal academic argument while supplying practical mechanisms for evaluating experiential claims.
The volume seeks to complicate and intensify disciplinary debates about how compositionists should write for publication and what kinds of writing should be taught to composition students. Spigelman not only supplies evidence as to why the personal can count as evidence but also relates how to use it effectively by including student samples that reflect particular features of personal writing. Finally, she lays the groundwork to move narrative from its current site as confessional writing to the domain of academic discourse.