1st Edition

Rhetoric and Storytelling within the U.S. Asylum Process Shelter Rhetorics

By Mónica Reyes Copyright 2025
    168 Pages 25 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book explores the U.S. asylum process and how those seeking shelter deal with the rhetorical pressures of compelling asylum narratives they need to write in order to stay.

    Centred around a study conducted at a shelter on the US border, this book moves beyond this context to demonstrate how liminal sites provide opportunities for displaced communities to employ distinct shared rhetorical practices of daily life—like silence and routine—that both safeguard vulnerabilities and enact agency for individuals within precarious spaces. Placing people who seek asylum and those who work with them as rhetorical and socio-cultural experts on this issue, the study adds to the emerging importance of rhetoric within discussions of asylum and forced migration and demonstrates the significance of rhetorical ecology theory as part of a blended methodology in understanding people seeking asylum as a group in a perpetual and explicit state of ethos development.

    Highlighting the need for support which is sensitive to the narrative struggles people seeking asylum face, this book will have important findings for scholars and upper-level students of cultural rhetorics, feminist rhetoric, migration studies, political science, and intercultural communication.

    1.     A Short Tour of the Project

    2.     La Mesa Redonda: A Located-Listening Approach to Knowledge-Building

    3.     En la Frontera: Resisting Spatial Conventions

    4.     Public Narratives of Asylum & Silence as an Echo of Displacement

    5.     Cooking, Crocheting, y Cantando: Composing Agency through Routine

    6.     The Long Path Out through Advocacy-Building


    Mónica Reyes is Assistant Professor in the Writing, Rhetoric & Discourse Department at DePaul University. Her research interests include: cultural rhetorics; rhetorical ecologies; critical refugee studies; and transnational feminist rhetorical literacies. Her work has been featured most recently in Grassroots Activisms: Public Rhetorics in Localized Contexts (2024); Enculturation: A Journal of Rhetoric, Writing & Culture (2020); and Postcolonial Text (2019). She is also a Public Voices Fellow of The OpEd Project.