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Bootstraps: From an American Academic of Color

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  104 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
_Bootstraps_ is an unusual book: at one level it is autobiographical, detailing the life of an American of Puerto Rican extraction from his childhood in New York City to an academic post at a university. At another level, Villanueva ponders his experiences in light of the history of rhetoric, the English Only movement, current socio- and psycholinguistic theory, and the wr ...more
Paperback, 151 pages
Published November 1st 1993 by National Council of Teachers of English
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Adam Sprague
Sep 17, 2011 Adam Sprague rated it it was ok
Victor Villanueva references a student that argues that "even after learning a language there is still the problem of thinking like white folks" (24). I think this quote is especially powerful in the English classroom more so than any other discipline. This is a culture-based argument. People of different cultures come from different sign systems and therefore have entirely different backgrounds that provide the setting for forming thoughts when critically responding to any media. While one can ...more
Jun 03, 2010 Michael rated it liked it
Shelves: literacy-comps
In his literacy memoir Boostraps (1993), Victor VIllanueva explores literacy, racism, and hegemony in the contemporary United States. He advocates teaching critical literacy, drawing on the work on Antonio Gramsci in order to understand that ways in which ideologies are supported and perpetuated. Part of this is teaching canonical work "in such a way as to expose what he called the folkloristic, the commonly accepted ways of the world, the things too often accepted as if they are a part of natur ...more
Aug 28, 2010 Mary rated it really liked it
I liked this "mixed genre" book quite more than I expected. If you think about it, we encounter theory in context of our lives ("Ah, that's right, I read that in my sophomore philosophy class when I was living with a schizophrenic roommate..."), so why not talk about our lives and theory as they influence each other?

I'm not sure I share Villanueva's vitriol toward Hirshe (or heavy, depressing worldview, generally), but I really respect him as a rhetorician, and a lot of what he expresses about b
Feb 26, 2015 Crystal rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2015
This book made me think about myself in a different light, realizing that I am a 3rd generation immigrant minority who, because I am white, have completely assimilated into the majority. I also loved the idea of using folklore to teach critical thinking and rhetoric.
Sep 04, 2012 Graham rated it really liked it
Shelves: school, memoirs, academic
Surprisingly well-done mix of auto-narrative and crit theory. Other than the Gramsci love fest at the end (and the section on his PhD research went on a little long) it flows well and is very well-crafted.
Bruce Martin
Aug 19, 2013 Bruce Martin rated it it was amazing
Best discussion I've read yet on the hegemony of the culture-classroom spectrum.
Ron Christiansen
Nov 28, 2012 Ron Christiansen rated it really liked it
Shelves: nf, education
About as ruckus of a book as you can get with education and writing and diversity. We had the author come to our campus, meet with us, give a speech. A very small but fierce witty guy.
Changed everything.
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Shelves: education
*Read for grad school (Composing Identities)
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“Another Mexican American in another class, approaches Victor after class, carrying his copy of Fahrenheit 451, required reading for the course. The student doesn't understand the reference to a salon. Victor explains that this is just another word for the living room. No understanding in the student's eyes. He tries Spanish: la salon. Still nothing. The student has grown up as a migrant worker. And Victor remembers the white student who had been in his class a quarter ago, who had written about not understanding racism, that there was none where he had grown up, in Wennatchee, that he has played with the children of his father's migrant workers without there being any hostility. His father's workers. Property. Property that doesn't know of living rooms. And Victor thought of what the man from Wennatchee knew, what the ROTC Mexican American knew, what the migrant worker knew. And he thought of getting up the next morning to go with Serena to St. Mary's for cheese and butter. And he knew there was something he was not doing in his composition classrooms.” 2 likes
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