Fall 2020 News


We have new faculty members in Composition, yay! 

Jen Keating, Senior Lecturer and the Writing in the Disciplines Specialist in the William S. Dietrich II Institute for Writing Excellence

Xiqiao Wang, Assistant Professor

Jordan Hayes, Visiting Lecturer

Sara Watson, Visiting Lecturer


We also have new graduate students!

Krystin Kantenwein-Boyd

Devon Pham


We had a few retirements this spring and summer as well. More soon on how we might honor these faculty members in Composition, but for now, wish them well!

Don Bialostosky

Jean Ferguson Carr

Nick Coles

Beth Matway



Dr. S. L. Nelson defended their dissertation, “Computers Can’t Get Wet: Queer Slippage and Play in the Rhetoric of Computational Structure,” and is beginning a Digital Humanities Research Fellowship at University of Sussex soon, while teaching part time for us at Pitt. [Committee: Annette Vee (chair), Peter Campbell, Ben Miller, Alison Langmead]

Dr. Dan Libertz defended his dissertation, “A Technology of Distance: Circulation of Statistics in U.S. Public Texts,” and has started a position as Assistant Professor of English and Associate Director of the First-Year Writing Program at Baruch College, CUNY. [Committee: Cory Holding (chair), Steve Carr, Annette Vee, Joanna Wolfe]

Dr. Jordan Hayes defended his dissertation, “Trajectories of Belonging: Literacies and Intersectionality in the Mobile Phone and Home-building Practices of Syrian Refugees in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq,” and is joining us at Pitt as a Visiting Lecturer. [Committee: Tyler Bickford & Annette Vee (co-chairs), Shalini Puri, Dana Moss, Edith Szanto]



Illah Reza Nourbakhsh and Jennifer KeatingAI and Humanity (MIT Press, Mar 2020). From the publisher’s website: An examination of the implications for society of rapidly advancing artificial intelligence systems, combining a humanities perspective with technical analysis; includes exercises and discussion questions.

Lou MarajBlack or Right: Anti/Racist Campus Rhetorics, out in Dec 2020 with Utah State University Press. From the publisher’s website: Black or Right: Anti/Racist Campus Rhetorics explores notions of Blackness in white institutional—particularly educational—spaces. In it, Louis M. Maraj theorizes how Black identity operates with/against ideas of difference in the age of #BlackLivesMatter. Centering Blackness in frameworks for antiracist agency through interdisciplinary Black feminist lenses, Black or Right asks how those racially signifying “diversity” in US higher education (and beyond) make meaning in the everyday. Preorder now for 40% off with the code MARAJ20. 

Composition and Big Data, coedited by Amanda Licastro and Ben Miller, has been accepted by Pitt Press. Composition and Big Data brings together a range of scholars, teachers, and administrators working with big-data methods and datasets to kickstart a collective reckoning with the role that algorithmic and computational approaches can, or should, play in the field's research and teaching. 

Jean Ferguson Carr wrote about “Mentoring Midcareer Colleagues” for Profession (Winter 2020).

Geoffrey Glover did a Q&A with PittWire answering, "Should Teachers Still Assign ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’?"

Marylou Gramm published a chapter, "Dialogic Openings for Recreating English” in Translingual Dispositions: Globalized Approaches to the Teaching of Writing (WAC Clearinghouse/UColorado), that argues for the student-teacher conference as "crucial for fostering international undergraduates’ translingual writing as it facilitates collaborative, inquisitive close readings of drafts, enabling students to exploit fertile grammatical deviations to engender analysis”

Sarah Hakimzadeh published an article in Law, Culture, and the Humanities (Jul 2020), "Reclaiming the Commons: Law, Rhetoric, and C.S. Peirce’s Pragmatic Philosophy."  

Two Pitt (current and former) grads are featured in Literacy in Composition StudiesMatthew Overstreet and Nick Marsellas:

“Preempting Racist and Transphobic Language in Student Writing and Discussion: A Review of Alex Kapitan’s The Radical Copyeditor’s Style Guide for Writing about Transgender People and Race Forward’s Race Reporting Guide,” by Nick Marsellas 

“Writing at the Interface: A Research and Teaching Program for Everyday Digital Media Literacy” by Matthew Overstreet



Lou Maraj is a Humanities Center Transdisciplinary Fellow.

Elizabeth Pitts and Annette Vee received Humanities Engage Curricular Development grants to develop graduate courses this summer.

LeTriece Calhoun received a Humanities Engage Curricular Development Opportunity Award.

Elise Silva received a Sawyer Seminar Graduate Fellowship for AY 20-21.

Kim Hoover and Taylor Waits received Humanities Engage Summer Immersive Fellowships.

Please send your events, publications, celebrations, news, etc. to Annette Vee at annettevee@pitt.edu.