Department of English, College of LAS, University of Illinois

Writing Studies Faculty

Dennis Baron, Professor of English and Linguistics

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research areas: Technologies and communication; language policy: the English-only movement; language legislation and linguistic rights; minority languages and dialects; language and gender; language reform and the history of the English language.

recently published: A Better Pencil: Readers, Writers, and the Digital Revolution


Dale Bauer, Professor of English

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research areas: 19th and 20th-Century American Literature, Gender Studies

recently published: Sex Expression and American Women Writers, 1860-1940


Martin Camargo, Professor of English

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research areas: Martin Camargo did his undergraduate work at Princeton University and his graduate work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he received the PhD in 1978. Between 1980 and 2003, he taught at the University of Missouri, serving as Director of Graduate Studies (1990-1993) and Department Chair (2000-2003). In fall 2003, he joined the faculty at the University of Illinois as Professor and Head of English.

recently published: Medieval Rhetorics of Prose Composition: Five English “Artes Dictandi” and Their Tradition.


Peter Mortensen, Associate Professor of English

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research areas: Mortensen's research interests include the history of rhetoric and literacy in the United States and the ethnographic study of literacy in institutions.

recently published: Women and Literacy: Local and Global Inquiries for a New Century


Catherine Prendergast, Professor of English

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research areas: Literacy and Race, Global English, Qualitative Methods, Disability Studies

recently published: Buying into English: Language and Investment in the New Capitalist World


Paul Prior, Professor of English

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research areas: In a series of situated studies that draw on theoretical frameworks from cultural-historical activity theory and dialogic semiotics, Professor Prior has explored connections among writing, reading, talk, learning, and disciplinarity. This work has appeared in articles, book chapters, and a 1998 book, Writing/Disciplinarity: A Sociohistoric Account of Literate Activity in the Academy (Lawrence Erlbaum). He has also co-edited with Charles Bazerman What Writing Does and How It Does It: An Introduction to Analyzing Texts and Textual Practices (Lawrence Erlbaum, 2004) and with Julie Hengst Exploring Semiotic Remediation as Discourse Practice (Palgrave, 2010). Current projects include studies of the writing process as dispersed, embodied, and situated literate activity and research that traces the remediation of an interactive online art object. With Sarah McCarthey and Mark Dressman, he also serves as Co-Editor of Research in the Teaching of English.

recently published: Writing/Disciplinarity: A Sociohistoric Account of Literate Activity in the Academy


Kelly Ritter, Professor of English

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research areas: Archival Studies and Historiography; Writing Program Administration; Composition Theory; Pedagogical Theory; Digital Rhetorics and Online Discourse. As a scholar of composition studies, and more broadly, writing, literacy, and culture, Ritter's research ranges from historical work on archives of writing programs and practices, to current theories at work in extra-institutional digital writing and learning technologies. Her scholarship is unified by a concern for disciplinary representations of student writing and student writers, as well as evolving theories of writing program administration, particularly those that promote new conceptions of student and teacher agencies. Currently she is at work on a study of "mental hygiene" films and their relevance to class-based principles in mass literacy training for American secondary school students in the 1940s and 1950s. Ritter is also the editor of the journal College English .

recently published: To Know Her Own History: Writing at the Woman’s College, 1943–1963 and Exploring Composition Studies: Sites, Issues, Perspectives


Lindsay Russell, Assistant Professor of English

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research areas: Russell's work recovers and analyzes the role of women—as both readers and writers—in the development of English language dictionaries.  This speaks to and draws upon several subfields related to writing studies, including linguistics, rhetoric, and feminist rhetorical traditions, and makes a contribution too to our understanding the social contexts for the codification of English as a language.  


Spencer Schaffner, Associate Professor of English

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research areas: protest rhetoric, new media composition, rhetorical theory, environmental rhetorics

recently published: Binocular Vision: the Politics of Representation in Birdwatching Field Guides