Moving Margins: Using Marginalia as a Tool for Critical Reflection

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2013


Marginalia is the practice of writing notes in the margins of texts as a way to capture ones' thoughts and feelings about the text during reading. It is giving in to the impulse, based on what was read, to stop and record a comment. In this manuscript, we make the connection between marginalia and the visceral responses to text felt by one doctoral student (the second author) taking a course examining language as a "place of struggle" (hooks, 2004, p. 153). We also demonstrate how marginalia can be used as a qualitative method to document and investigate the way textual interaction facilitates learning. A found poem developed from the marginalia compiled throughout the semester is shared exemplifying the way a critical analysis of personal marginalia can facilitate awareness of transformative processes and highlighting the margins as a transformative space.