Faculty Spotlight: Kristin Gerdy Kyle

Friday, November 5, 2021
Kristin Gerdy Kyle

Which of your recent books or articles should I read?

Kristin B. Gerdy Kyle, Big Brother, Othello, and Dogs that Don’t Bark: The Use of Literary Allusion in Federal Appellate Opinions, 29 U.S.C. Interdiscip. L.J. 479 (2020).  
In this article I explore the theory behind literary allusion including what they are, how they impact a reader’s understanding of a text, and why they can be effective in persuasive writing. I then look at the use of literary allusions in judicial opinions, including the debate over whether allusions have a role in judicial writing. I summarize and analyze an empirical study of federal appellate opinions from 1997-2012 that invoke literary allusions and look at several specific literary allusions from federal appellate opinions and critique their efficacy in furthering the opinion’s argument.

What have you read, listened to, or watched recently that has influenced you or your work? 

For the last four years I’ve had the privilege of being a subscriber to the Wasatch Speaker Series, a program that brings the best of today’s leaders, thinkers, and innovators to the stage for an evening of in-person (or for the last 18 months, virtual) conversations in an open, unbiased forum.  I’ve been able to listen to such inspiring speakers as Bob Woodward, Madeleine Albright, Joe Biden, Dr. Jane Goodall, Julia Gillard, Steve Wozniak, Gabby Giffords, and Colin Powell. Each of these speakers, and the many others that I haven’t mentioned, has stretched me to think more deeply about our society, about the way I view the world, and about the way I view rhetoric and communication. 
What is it about being a law school professor that inspires or motivates you?

It’s probably cliché, but the students are my inspiration. I do what I do because of them. I thrive on watching them move from through the quadrants of the learning process from unconscious incompetence through conscious incompetence and ultimately to conscious competence. I love to see the “lightbulb moments” when concepts click and confidence grows.  Every class I teach, every paper I critique, every conference I hold, I think about the individuals in class and what they need to get from the experience.  It may be the twentieth time (that semester) I’ve read the same analysis, but it’s only the first time that student has written it, so they deserve my very best.

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