Catherine Prendergast

Professor of English,Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, and EUI

Research Interests

Writing Studies, Disability Studies, Professional Writing


Catherine Prendergast is Professor of English at the University of Illinois,Urbana-Champaign. She is a Guggenheim Fellow for the year 2014-2015, working on her book, Writer, Painter, Banker, Thief. 


Specializations / Research Interest(s)

  • American, later
  • Writing Studies
  • American, later
  • Teacher Training
  • Film/Visual Culture
  • Writing Studies


  • BA: Columbia University
  • PhD: University of Wisconsin - Madison

Distinctions / Awards

  • David H. Russell Award from NCTE (for Literacy and Racial Justice)
  • Guggenheim Fellow
  • Mina P. Shaughnessy Award
  • Braddock Award for outstanding article in College Composition and Communication
  • CCCC Outstanding Book Award
  • University Scholar
  • Fulbright Scholar


  • Disability in Film
  • Economies of Literacy



  • Buying into English: Language and Investment in the New Capitalist World. University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008.
  • Literacy and Racial Justice: The Politics of Learning after Brown v. Board of Education. Southern Illinois University Press, 2003.

Book Contributions

  • "The Unexceptional Schizophrenic: A Post-postmodern Introduction." Disability Studies Reader. Routledge, 2013.
  • "In Praise of Incomprehension." Cross Language Relations in Composition Studies. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2010.

Journal Articles

  • Prendergast, Catherine, and Samuel P. Nelson. "Murderabilia Inc: How the First Amendment Fails Academic Freedom." SAQ 108.4 (2009): 667-688.
  • "The Fighting Style: Reading the Unabomber's Strunk and White." College English 72.1 (2009): 10-28.
  • "And Now, A Necessarily Pathetic Response." American Literary History 20.1-2 (2008): 238-244.
  • "We Live and Learn: English and Ambivalence in a New Capitalist State." Globalisation, Societies, and Education 6.1 (2008): 89-100.
  • Prendergast, Catherine, and Nancy Abelmann. "Alma Mater: College, Kinship, and the Pursuit of Diversity." Social Text 24.1 (2006): 37-53.
  • "The Economy of Literacy: How the Supreme Court Stalled the Civil Rights Movement." Harvard Educational Review 72.2 (2002): 206-229.

Special Issues of a Journal

  • Representing Disability and Emotion. Spec. iss. of Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability 5.2 (2011):

Website Articles

  • "Or You Don't: Talents, Tendencies, and the Pooka of Literacy." 11 Jan. 2013.
  • "Writing and Learning in View of the Lab: Why "They" Might Be Right." 11 Jan. 2013.

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