Department of English, College of LAS, University of Illinois

Spencer Schaffner

Associate Professor of English and Writing Studies

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PhD, University of Washington, 2005

Teaching Interests

the rhetoric of protest and dissent, visual composition, writing pedagogy


Rhet 233: Rhetoric of Contemporary Protest / INFO 303: Tactics in Protest Movements / English 380: Writing in a Digital World / English 300: Graphic Novels / English 481: Composition Theory and Practice / English 482: Writing Technologies / English 505: Intro to Writing Studies / English 582: Genre Theory / English 582: Discourse Analysis / English 584: Rhetoric and Social / Engagement / English 584: Writing for the Web, / See course websites at

Research Interests

born-digital scholarship, brain-based writing disorders, writing pedagogy, writing and shame

Selected Publications


  • Schaffner, Spencer. Binocular Vision: the Politics of Representation in Birdwatching Field Guides. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2011.

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Book Contributions

  • Schaffner, Spencer. "Mockumentaries Meet New Media." Too Bold for the Box Office: A Study in Mockumentary. Ed. Cynthia Miller. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2012.
  • Schaffner, Spencer. "Ecosee: Image, Rhetoric, and Nature." Field Guides to Birds: Images and Image/Text Positioned As Reference. Comp. Sean Morey. Ed. Sid Dobrin. New York: SUNY UP, 2008. 95-111.

Journal Articles

  • Schaffner, Spencer. "Biocultural Diversity and the Problem of the Superabundant Individual." RCC Perspectives forthcoming (2013):
  • Prior, Paul, and Spencer Schaffner. "Bird Identification as a Family of Activities: Motives, Mediating Artifacts, and Laminated Assemblages." Ethos: Journal for the Society of Psychological Anthropology 39.1 (2011): 51-70.
  • McDowell, Jacqueline , and Spencer Schaffner. "Football, it’s a Man’s Game: An Exploration of Gendered Discourse in 'The Gender Bowl'." Discourse & Society 22.5 (2011): 1-19.
  • Schaffner, Spencer. "Environmental Sporting: Birding at Superfund Sites, Landfills, and Sewage Ponds." Journal of Sport and Social Issues 33.3 (2009): 206-230.