As a first-generation American from a multi-cultural family where three languages—English, Spanish, and Slovene—were routinely spoken around the dinner table, I approach my work with an eye on the cross-pollination that occurs when cultures clash. I’ve observed over time that—in the literature I study and the students and faculty with whom I work—clashes of languages and values are constantly happening around us. (This might be truer in our current socio-political climate than ever.) But I’ve also come to realize that these clashes are often the result of people and texts talking past, rather than to, each other. I’ve thus come to think of myself as a mediator first, and critic and educator second.
I mediate between texts, cultures, languages, faculty and students. I mean this in a sense that is both literal (I am a trained mediator) and metaphorical (I know texts can’t actually speak… though when I heard Virginia Woolf’s voice for the first time when her only surviving recording was made public in 2016, I got chills and admit I rethought the metaphor).
What do I mean when I say I’m a mediator above all? Well, I translate texts from Spanish and Slovene into English regularly for literary magazines. It’s what won me an NEA Translation Grant, a Fulbright grant to Slovenia and a Tinker Foundation grant to Argentina. I translate complex rhetorical concepts into language my students can understand as I teach courses in first-year writing and advanced composition theory at the College of the Holy Cross. And I teach my most advanced students—the tutors in the writing center—to do the same for their peers. I translate the differences between texts written in the U.K., Spain, Slovenia, Italy, and other European countries in my dissertation project that considers diverse fictional perspectives on World War I. And, as I work on a composition studies manuscript that draws teaching writing and translation theory together, I translate between my diverse academic interests.
Write to Kristina at: firstname.lastname@example.org.