Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Gary L. Lemons, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ylce Irizarry, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Quynh Nhu Le, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Phillip Sipiora, Ph.D.


autocritography, feminism, identity, multicultural, womanism


Border-Crossing Travels Across Literary Worlds is an autocritographical journey that places a group of U.S. literary texts into critically conscious dialogue with the “text” of my life. As a white, American, middle-class, cishetero, able-bodied man, I historicize, contextualize, analyze, and deconstruct the process by which my ten years of graduate academic studies at the University of South Florida fostered my ongoing awakening to critical consciousness—the personal and political evolution Paolo Freire terms “conscientization.” I present the analytical insights I realized about landmark feminist and womanist texts I encountered during my graduate studies that resonate with the prominent literary works and events from my youth. By identifying personal contexts and identity-aware frameworks for how I read these influential texts in my past, I give concrete examples of how hegemonic systems of gender, race, class, sexuality, and ability operate within such writing. I also demonstrate how utilizing feminist and womanist theoretical lenses allows a scholar to re-vision and recover problematic texts. Across all my autocritographical travels, I imagine my own life experiences, as well as the positionality of my selected texts’ protagonists, in terms of the archetype of the shaman—a liminal, border-crossing person who walks between worlds to function in the capacity as a messenger, intermediary, and balance-bringing healer.