"An always insightful and often delightful reading of the most sustained and successful exercise in political satire in modern American life. Stephen Colbert would no doubt agree -- well, about all but the 'satire' part. Let the eagle soar!"
Geoffrey Nunberg, Adjunct Full Professor, School of Information, University of California at Berkeley, on Colbert’s America
"Colbert's America is beautifully readable and delightfully smart; rich in examples and conceptual frame. McClennen gives us a master class in the critical pedagogy of Colbert."
Geoffrey Baym, Associate Professor, Department of Media Studies, University of North Carolina Greensboro, on Colbert’s America
"America According to Colbert demonstrates that Colbert's work is also a form of public education, teaching his audiences to be distrustful of power and fools, and to view all politicians, pundits, and politics itself with mistrust. McClennen's well-written and documented study brilliantly illuminates the Colbert phenomenon and its importance for contemporary politics, journalism, and popular culture today."
Douglas Kellner, Professor, UCLA; author of Guys and Guns Amok and Media Spectacle and the Crisis of Democracy, on Colbert’s America
"America According to Colbert demonstrates that Colbert’s work is also a form of public pedagogy, teaching his audiences to be distrustful of power and fools, and to view all politicians, pundits, and politics itself with mistrust. McClennen’s well-written and documented study brilliantly illuminates the Colbert phenomenon and its importance for contemporary politics, journalism, and popular culture today."
Douglas Kellner, Professor, UCLA; author of Guys and Guns Amok and Media Spectacle and the Crisis of Democracy, on America According to Colbert
"Some suggest that comparative literature is a dead discipline. This book proves them wrong by showing the engaged responsiveness of post-contemporary comparativism to current social and political problems. Rather than fashioning itself as an alibi for Western imperialism, the volume reveals the emerging role of comparative literature and comparative cultural studies as an active agent in progressive social understanding and change—particularly in an 'age of terror.'"
Jeffrey R. Di Leo, University of Houston-Victoria, author of Academe Degree Zero: Reconsidering the Politics of Higher Education, on Representing Humanity in an Age of Terror
"The article move deftly between high theory and practical politics, guiding the reader through an impressive range of material (poetry, prose, music, film, and photography) with broad historical scope (the French Revolution, post World War II decolonization, the 'Global War on Terror')—all the while retaining a strong sense of cohesion and unity of purpose. This is a spirited collection, simultaneously provocative and rigorous. It is not only an urgent appeal for engaged public scholarship, but also a first-rate example of it."
James Dawes, Macalester College, author of That the World May Know, on Representing Humanity in an Age of Terror
"Sophia A. McClennen is a writer of extraordinary gifts and one of our most promising intellectuals. In Ariel Dorfman: An Aesthetics of Hope, she not only gives human form to a poetics and politics of hope, but also offers us a brilliant and compelling narrative of Ariel Dorfman’s work and life, revealing the courage and costs involved in taking risks, embracing civic courage, addressing the suffering of others, and living in a world in which democracy must never be taken for granted. Beautifully written and brilliantly argued, this is a book for everyone who believes that hope is the poetry of politics."
Henry A. Giroux, author of Hearts of Darkness: Torturing Children in the War on Terror, on Ariel Dorfman
"Ariel Dorfman: An Aesthetics of Hope is a complete life-and-works study of Dorfman, one of the premier Latin American writers. Surprisingly, it is the first full-length English-language study of the author. I learned a great deal from this rich and compassionate text. Sophia A. McClennen approaches Dorfman with measured affection and a sharp critical eye. She has written a model study: the biographical information provides context for the creative work, and her analysis of the creative work avoids excessive plot summary, while still giving the reader unfamiliar with a given text enough information to understand the argument."
Debra A. Castillo, author of Redreaming America: Toward a Bilingual American Culture, on Ariel Dorfman
"[A] welcome overview of Ariel Dorfman’s huge corpus of literary, journalistic, cinematographic, and critical work. ... McClennen's book ... makes the reader aware of the monumental and diversely composed project that is Dorfman's corpus."
Robert F. Barsky, Modern Drama, on Ariel Dorfman
"[T]his remarkable study makes a valuable contribution for those interested in Dorfman's life and works and for anyone considering the difficult questions of how literature can effectively engage with the world in which we live, of what role more experimental art can play in the age of mass media, and of how language can engage with trauma and memory."
Victoria Garrett, Hispania, on Ariel Dorfman
"Controversial, relentless, provocative, and astoundingly creative, Dorfman has been the most single-minded culture critic of the latter part of the 20th century. McClennen’s critique is, in turn, an exemplary analysis of Dorfman’s remarkable practice of thinking through crisis. An invaluable addition to the literature on literary and cultural studies. Essential."
K. M. Sibbald, Choice, on Ariel Dorfman
"In this new collection of essays, some of which read like manifestos, Sophia A. McClennen and Earl E. Fitz attempt to rectify the persistent and altogether unwarranted tendencies among some comparatists of privileging European literatures (especially those written in English, French, and German), as well as classifying Latin American literature written in Spanish and Portuguese as “peripheral” and therefor not nearly as worthy of study. The twelve essays represent a wide range of investigation and critical inquiry into Latin American literature, and will undoubtedly spark debate—and perhaps self-examination—among comparatists."
Daniel John Nappo, Univeristy of Tennessee at Martin in Hispania vol. 88 no. 4, 2005, 771-73., on Comparative Cultural Studies and Latin America
"In this essential, and soon-to-be controversial, volume, Sophia A. McClennen and Earl Fitz have gathered together some of the most important and eloquent scholars working in the US and Canadian academy today."
Debra Castillo, Cornell University, on Comparative Cultural Studies and Latin America
"Our analysis of literary exile, McClennen insists, and I agree, should transcend the facile dichotomies as to whether 'exile produces creative freedom or it traps the writer in restrictive nostalgia.'"
Paul Tiyambe Zeleza, A Modern Economic History of Africa, on The Dialectics of Exile
"Sophia McClennen's book responds to a pressing need to theorize an issue that involves many questions concerning notions of power, identity, and memory—all of them pivotal to the study of Hispanic culture on both sides of the Atlantic."
Maria Helena Rueda, Smith College, on The Dialectics of Exile
"By inverting the conventional interpretive logic in which literary texts are simply made to 'prove' the claims of theory and setting out to show how the texts might also be capable of criticizing and even disproving certain theoretically-based critique, McClennen succeeds in a truly theoretically-based critique. I am especially impressed with her grasp of the real centrality of the concept of narration, in its broadest sense, to the question of exile."
Neil Larsen, University of California-Davis, on The Dialectics of Exile
"From the shores of exile, writing in Spanish has engaged in the politics of memory as un urgent challenge to the politics of oblivion. Sophia A. McClennen’s much-needed and long overdue book bridges this transatlantic dialogue. Her analysis proves that these literatures are a revision of reading that moves literature from a monological archive towards the unsheltered territory of radical dialogue."
Julio Ortega, Brown University, on The Dialectics of Exile
"In this superb book, Sophia A. McClennen illuminates the dilemmas of language, identity, and diaspora in ways that are refreshing and original."
Ariel Dorfman, Duke University, author of Death and the Maiden, on The Dialectics of Exile
"Sophia McClennen's fine Dialectics of Exile, which is not meant to be a comprehensive overview but rather a reconsideration of a particular period along thematic lines. McClennen's book limits itself to three case studies, analyzing the works and lives of the Chilean Ariel Dorfman, the Uruguayan Cristina Peri Rossi, and the Spaniard Juan Goytisolo (the inclusion of Goytisolo places this book under the rubric of transatlantic studies, a growing academic niche in recent years). [...]
"This book offers a theoretically aware argument that draws from established concepts from theories of national identity, postnationalism, and postmodernism, as well as from linguistics, feminism, and Marxism. What is unusual about it is that it does not deal with exile as a negative, traumatic event that is in effect all aftermath, as is commonly the case. Instead, it casts exile as a positive and ongoing mode of evolving cultural identity. McClennen presents exile as the initiation of an ongoing 'dialectic,' a word rich with Marxist, linguistic, and aesthetic resonances, all of which she mines successfully. The cultural production of exile, she rightly notes, needs to be read as a series of 'dialectical tensions,' rather than as static, binary oppositions where one end of the binary is favored in the interpretation (28).
"This book engages with fundamental questions head on: what is the difference between an exile and an immigrant? What is the concept of 'homeland?' How is the process of representation, never a simple one, complicated by displacement? "The crisis of language" of the exile, writes McClennen, 'while revealing a crisis in the subject, does not lead to the end of representation' (119). Rather, the literature of exile 'often revolves around the exile's sense of loss,' or the 'exile's sense of freedom once the bonds of the nation are loosened. The exile often attempts to rewrite national history and also often attempts to rewrite [. . . ] notions of community that are not predicated on the nation' (222). McClennen's insightful ruminations on the dynamics of exile are well-taken and their implications wide-ranging."
John Ochoa, Latin American Research Review, on The Dialectics of Exile