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Margaret Himley

Margaret Himley

Associate Provost, International Education and Engagement; Professor, Writing and Rhetoric

106 Walnut Place


    PhD, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1983

    Research and Teaching Interests

    Writing Studies. Theories of Pedagogy and Curriculum. Queer Studies. Prospect’s Philosophy of Education and Descriptive Processes.

    Scholarly Interests and Projects

    From the first day I walked into a writing classroom, I have been excited about what kinds of teaching and learning can take place there; what kinds of conversations can be pursued; what kinds of self-making, or poiesis, emerge from writing on challenging topics to diverse audiences in multiple genres; what kinds of communities, however temporary, provide ground for action; and what kinds of knowledges get made and remade. All of my work emerges from these questions.

    Under the tentative rubric of Mobilizing Desire: History, Identification, Activism, I am beginning to write about the curricular work the Writing Program undertook from 2003-2006 to integrate diversity into the required writing sequence. I want to look at what happens to the scene of writing, now networked and globalized, if and when we start not from “Who am I?” but from the more spacious, more conversational, and arguably more ethical question, “Who are you?” This shift gives priority to the scene of address, to encounters between self and others, both face-to-face and textually mediated. What are these encounters like? How are they produced? Who is easily recognized, and who is not? Why? How does one give an account of oneself differently in these different encounters? How does one ask questions? What griefs result? What desires and economies of affect circulate? What unexpected pleasures and connections emerge? What new modes of sociality take place? Most importantly, how and why do these encounters make us better writers?

    As Co-Director of the LGBT Studies Program (, I work with faculty from across the campus to develop courses for the minor, to bring speakers, and to sponsor presentations and conferences. This year Roger Hallas, an assistant professor in English and Textual Studies, will organize a queer visual culture series, screening two films and hosting a speaker each semester, focusing on ‘found footage’ and other experimental approaches to film, and looking not just at representation but also at the ways communities of cultural producers and communities of viewers form and at the practices of seeing and being seen, or even being under surveillance. We will also host a graduate student conference in the fall, and an undergraduate student conference in the spring.

    With Patrica F. Carini, I co-edit (and write for) a series of books published by Teachers College Press on Prospect’s history as school, philosophy of education and descriptive processes. The work, based on a commitment to human capacity, widely distributed, makes the bold proposition that it is only by attending with care to one child that the democratic goal of educational equality for all children can be achieved. From Another Angle (2000) introduces theDescriptive Review of the Child and Starting Strong (2002) is a collection of talks Carini has given which tell the story of Prospect as school and philosophy and connect Prospect to the current educational climate. Jenny’s Story, which recounts the ways a child who might have easily been mislabeled ‘slow’ wasn’t – and how and why that happened, and Making Space: The Art of Teaching are being written now.

    Critical Encounters with Texts: Finding a Place to Stand is the custom reader that Anne Fitzsimmons and I have developed for the Writing Program, full of provocative and challenging essays, articles, poems, graphic autobiography, and journalistic pieces that aim to startle students and engage them in a world beyond their immediate knowledge and that set the stage for a composing process that requires research, critical reading, and audience awareness, as writers learn to engage with others in a passionate and consequential exchange of ideas. The book is linked to the syllabus for WRT 105 required of new teachers in the program. This year Anne and I are writing the framework for the book, as we go national with it.

    Other Recent Publications

    “Interchanges: Response to Marzluf’s ‘Diversity Writing: Natural Languages, Authentic Voices’” in College Composition and Communication 58:3, February 2007, 449-463.
    "Facing (Up To) 'The Stranger' in Community Service Learning" in College Composition and Communication 55:3, February 2004, pp. 416-438.
    "Writing Programs and Pedagogies in a Globalized Landscape." WPA: Journal of the Council of Writing Program Administrators, special issue, edited by Christine Farris, Vol. 26, Number 3, spring 2003, pp. 49-66.
    Classrooms, a video essay