Christopher, Renny (Teresa) 1957-
CHRISTOPHER, Renny (Teresa) 1957-
PERSONAL: Born March 4, 1957, in Newport, CA; daughter of Richard T. (a carpenter and boat builder) and Bebi (a hairdresser and bookkeeper; maiden name, Ruhland) Christopher. Ethnicity: "White." Education: Mills College, B.A., 1982; San Jose State University, M.A. (linguistics), 1986; University of California—Santa Cruz, Ph.D., 1992. Politics: "Peace and freedom." Hobbies and other interests: Horses, hiking, running, bicycling.
CAREER: Educator, poet, and nonfiction writer. Horse Lovers' National, Burlingame, CA, features editor, 1976-79; Literature of Liberty, Menlo Park, CA, production editor, 1982; Gilroy Dispatch, graphic arts editor, 1983-84; substitute teacher at public schools in Morgan Hill, CA, 1984-85; San Jose State University, San Jose, CA, lecturer in English, 1986-87; Cabrillo Community College, Aptos, CA, instructor in English, 1988-95; California State University—Stanislaus, Turlock, assistant professor, 1995-98, associate professor of English, beginning 1998; California State University—Channel Islands, Camarillo, currently associate professor of English. San Jose State University, lecturer, 1993-94; University of California—Santa Cruz, lecturer, 1992-95; University of Barcelona, visiting professor, 2000; University of Virginia, associate fellow of Institute for Advanced Technology and the Humanities. Sixties Project Collective (electronic bulletin board), member. Viet Nam Generation: Journal of Recent History and Contemporary Issues, vice president. Gives readings from her works.
MEMBER: PEN International, Modern Language Association of America (member, Radical Caucus), American Studies Association, Popular Culture Association, Asian American Studies Association, Association for Asian Studies, National Council of Teachers of English, Conference on College Composition and Communication, National Writers Union, Philosophical Association of the Pacific Coast, California American Studies Association.
AWARDS, HONORS: Winner, McHenry Library Book Collection Contest, 1988; outstanding service award, Alpha Gamma Sigma, 1993; book award for outstanding book on human rights, Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in North America, 1995, for The Viet Nam War/The American War; Slipstream Chapbook Award, 1998, for Longing Fervently for Revolution.
The Viet Nam War/The American War: Images and Representations in Euro-American and Vietnamese Exile Narratives, University of Massachusetts Press (Boston, MA), 1995.
My Name Is Medea (poetry), New Spirit Press (Kew Gardens, NY), 1996.
Viet Nam and California (poetry), Viet Nam Generation, 1997.
Longing Fervently for Revolution: Upward Mobility and Its Discontents (poetry), Slipstream Press (Niagara Falls, NY), 1998.
Contributor to books, including Understanding Others: Cultural and Cross-Cultural Studies and the Teaching of Literature, edited by Joseph Trimmer and Tilly Warnock, National Council of Teachers of English (Urbana, IL), 1992; Reading the Literatures of Asian America, edited by Shirley Gok Lim and Amy Ling, Temple University Press (Philadelphia, PA), 1992; A Measured Response, edited by Palmer Hall, Pecan Grove Press, 1993; The Canon in the Classroom, edited by John Alberti, Garland Publishing (New York, NY), 1995; and This Fine Place So Far from Home, edited by C. L. Barney Dews and Carolyn Law, Temple University Press (Philadelphia, PA), 1995. Staff film critic, Matrix Women's Newsmagazine, 1990-92; film critic, La Gazette, 1992—. Contributor of articles, short stories, poetry, and reviews to periodicals, including Journal of American Culture, Santa Clara Review, Vietnam Generation, American Letters and Commentary, Journal of Women and Religion, and Literature, Interpretation, Theory. Quarry West, member of editorial board, 1987-90, fiction editor, 1990-92; Coeditor, Women's Studies Quarterly, spring, 1998.
WORK IN PROGRESS: American Nightmares: U.S. Working-Class Literature; A Carpenter's Daughter: A Working-Class Woman in Higher Education, an autobiography; Love That Is a Commitment to the World, poetry.
SIDELIGHTS: Renny Christopher once told CA: "I became interested in the war in Viet Nam out of personal acquaintance with Viet Nam veterans and with Vietnamese students. I wrote The Viet Nam War/The American War: Images and Representations in Euro-American and Vietnamese Exile Narratives out of a deep frustration with the omnipresent racism that informs most U.S. discussions of the war. I have received several letters from people—mostly veterans—who have told me that my book explained to them things about Viet Nam (the country, not the war) they hadn't understood, which helped them put their own experiences in perspective. This is exactly what I hoped to accomplish with the book.
"I am now undertaking a study of U.S. working-class literature. My own experience is that of upward mobility, being the first person in my family to have a college degree. I am also writing a memoir, A Carpenter's Daughter: A Working-Class Woman in Higher Education, which addresses my own experiences.
"However, although literary criticism is what I have best succeeded in publishing, I do not primarily think of myself as a scholar, but rather as a poet and fiction writer. I have had some modest success with poetry, but the piece I would most like to have published, a novel called A Spy in the Land of the Living, remains unpublished eight years after its completion, despite the efforts of two agents, my own attempts to place it with a small press, and a large number of 'encouraging' rejections. This remains the largest disappointment of my life."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Journal of Asian Studies, August, 1998, Mark Bradley, review of The Viet Nam War/The American War: Images and Representations in Euro-American and Vietnamese Exile Narratives, p. 904.
Renny Christopher's Home Page,http://www.english.csuci.edu/rchristopher/ (September 3, 2003).