Paul A Prior

Professor of English


Writing Studies, Science, Technology, and Digital Media, Philology/Linguistics/Grammar


Paul Prior is a Professor in English and the Center for Writing Studies and Director of the Center for Writing Studies. Working with cultural-historical activity theory, actor-network theory, and dialogic semiotics, he has explored connections among writing, talk, embodied action, learning, and disciplinarity. His current research focuses on understanding how academic writing and disciplinarity develop across the lifespan. He also served as the Director of Graduate WAC Programs, Associate Director, and then Director in the Center for Writing Studies between 1992 and 2014. He twice served as Director of Undergraduate Rhetoric in the English Department (between 1997-1999 and then 2006-2009). Paul was co-editor of Research in the Teaching of English from 2008-2013. Before he began his PhD at the University of Minnesota, Paul taught ESL at Indiana University; the Institute of Public Administration in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For further details, see c.v. at his personal webpage.

Specializations / Research Interest(s)

  • Writing Studies
  • Writing Studies, Literate Activity, Dialogic Theory, Semiotic Practice, Applied Linguistics, Genre, CHAT and ANT.



  • Prior, Paul. Writing/Disciplinarity: A Sociohistoric Account of Literate Activity in the Academy. Taylor Francis/LEA, 1998.

Edited Books

  • Prior, Paul, and Julie Hengst. Exploring Semiotic Remediation as Discourse Practice. Houndmills, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.
  • Bazerman, Charles, and Paul Prior. What Writing Does and How It Does It: An Introduction to Analysis of Texts and Textual Practices. Taylor Francis/LEA, 2004.

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