Anne Goldman

Critical Writing

Anne Goldman’s work includes a collection of creative nonfiction as well as three scholarly books. She published Take My Word: Autobiographical Innovations of Ethnic American Working Women with the University of California Press in 1996. After joining the English Department at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Anne moved back to the Bay Area to accept a position at Sonoma State University. Palgrave/St. Martin’s Press published her second book, Continental Divides: Revisioning American Literature, in 2000; a collection of critical essays Anne co-edited with Professor Amelia Montes, María Amparo Ruiz de Burton: Critical and Pedagogical Perspectives, was published by the University of Nebraska Press in 2004. Anne was accorded a Chancellor’s Fellowship at Berkeley while she began Take My Word; other work has been supported with fellowships from the Ahmanson/Getty foundation and grants from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. A collection of creative nonfiction, Stargazing in the Atomic Age, was published by the University of Georgia Press in 2021. Stargazing earned a silver award for the essay in 2022 from the Independent Publisher Awards. The collection was a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year in 2021.

Anne has also published critical essays on a wide range of writers (Emma Goldman, Toni Morrison, Willa Cather, and Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton, to name a few) and a diverse group of narratives, from nineteenth-century Mexican American literature to recollections of twentieth-century labor organizing to autobiographies that create their subjects through approaches to cooking.

She is currently Professor of English at Sonoma State University, where she teaches courses in American literature and creative nonfiction. Anne has also taught at the University of Colorado at Boulder, San Jose State University, and the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton: Critical and Pedagogical Perspectives (Postwestern Horizons)

About the Book

Since the recent republication of her novel The Squatter and the Don, María Amparo Ruiz de Burton (1832–95) has become a key figure in the recovery of nineteenth-century Mexican American literature. An aristocratic Californiana, she championed the rights of Mexican Americans in novels, plays, and letters. Her 1885 novel called attention to the illegal appropriation of Mexican land by the United States government, and she critiqued the political mores of America after the Civil War in light of the Mexican-American war. Her keen assessment of corporate capitalism at the end of the nineteenth century, frank acknowledgment of feminine desire, and deft insights about economic realities and class relations were unique among her American peers.



“I am always asked by other scholars in American literature how I teach recently recovered texts written by U.S. Hispanics. My response, after reviewing this book, is to mention the groundbreaking work by Amelia María de la Luz Montes and Anne Elizabeth Goldman.”
-----María C. González, Western American Literature

“A long overdue secondary source, the anthology will prove to be an important guide to the writings of this significant American literary figure.”
-----Ella Maria Diaz, Legacy

Continental Divides: Revisioning American Literature


About the Book

This book calls for a new iconography of region that unseats New England’s status as cultural center of the United States and originary metaphor for national identity. No single territorial or political axis can adequately describe the complex regional relationships that comprise the nation, Anne Goldman argues. Goldman's arguments question critical sectionalism as extensively as they do regional divisions, by blurring generic distinctions, by reading across literary periods, and by juxtaposing writers who explore the same set of social issues during the same historical moment, but who are conventionally located in separate literary traditions: sentimental literature, the African American novel, literary modernism, early Mexican fiction.


Continental Divides’ ambitious undertaking is nothing short of unsettling New England as the cultural, geographic, and literary center of the United States.… What results is a more complex, nuanced set of readings.”
----- Andrea Tinnemeyer, Western American Literature

“If American and Cultural Studies have done any good for Western American literature, they have introduced empire and colonialism as categories of analysis. But as Anne Goldman astutely argues, trendy models of post-colonialism and transnationalism often reproduce the usual binaries that frame the narration of the nation: North-South; white-black; masculine-feminine; public-private; novel-romance; nation-region.
-----Frederick Aldama, American Literature

Take My Word: Autobiographical Innovations of Ethnic American Working Women

About the Book

In an innovative critique of traditional approaches to autobiography, Anne E. Goldman convincingly demonstrates that ethnic women can and do speak for themselves, even in the most unlikely contexts. Citing a wide variety of nontraditional texts--including the cookbooks of Nuevo Mexicanas, African American memoirs of midwifery and healing, and Jewish women's histories of the garment industry--Goldman illustrates how American women have asserted their ethnic identities and made their voices heard over and sometimes against the interests of publishers, editors, and readers. While the dominant culture has interpreted works of ethnic literature as representative of a people rather than an individual, the working women of this study insist upon their own agency in narrating rich and complicated self-portraits.


"Always attentive to historical and discursive contexts, Goldman looks for the pressure points of these nontraditional narratives where the discursive call to speak as a representative of a collectivity—what she describes as the ethnographic imperative—gives way to the impulse to 'self-distinction'—what she describes as the individualizing logic of self-possession. In doing so she compels theorists of autobiography to rethink the elasticities of autobiographical utterance by means of a negotiable 'I'-'We' continuum. She compels us, that is, to rethink conventional understandings of genre. Her argument is incisive, her readings nuanced, her prose lucid."
—Sidonie Smith, author of
Subjectivity, Identity, and the Body: Women's Autobiographical Practices in the Twentieth Century

“Goldman's well researched book has an ambitious agenda. It richly complicates the interaction between autobiography and ethnography. Goldman emphasizes that the two are not in opposition but on a continuum. She argues, further, that the genre of autobiography should be redefined: such a redefinition should allow us to look beyond the confessional and beyond the literary for autobiographical gestures....By highlighting borderline texts, Goldman makes a persuasive case for remapping the boundaries of autobiography.
----Kathleen A Boardman, Rocky Mountain Review of Language and Literature

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"An exciting, original contribution to American Women's Cultural Studies. . . . Goldman challenges even poststructural views of the author and reminds us how women found ways to subvert traditional scripts in representing themselves and their relation to their cultures."
—Barbara T. Christian, author of Black Feminist Criticism