Ryan Crawford, Ph.D.

Ryan Crawford, Ph.D. Image
Interim Chair
English Department
College of Arts and Sciences

Ph.D., Rhetoric and Composition, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale

M.F.A., Creative Writing, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale

TESOL Certificate, TEFL International

B.A., Marketing, Clemson University

About Ryan

Beyond preparation for academic writing, the first-year writing (FYW) classroom has become an important threshold of critical thinking, a space in which students can begin to question the power structures surrounding them, and how those structures have functioned in the making of meaning. Through this examination, students begin to transfer some of that power back to themselves, with increased agency in the creation of future versions of the self, and a more ethical approach to the messages they create and share with the world.

To cross this threshold requires not only motivation, but intrinsic motivation. This has guided my developing pedagogy, which focuses on intrinsic motivation, eudaimonic reward, and exploratory rather than consummatory desire. By early encouraging examination of self in the classroom, as well as recognizing the value of student interest and curiosity, these components converge to sustain motivation as students begin researching and composing on topics which matter to them, and which will in some way further their personal and professional goals.

My research utilizes diffractive methodology combining scholarship from the fields of composition, neuroscience, education, psychology, and philosophy in examining the concepts of self and agency as emergences from discourse with environments. Though informed by Karen Barad's quantum ideas of intra-action, at the core of this is a neurobiological understanding of plasticity: the ability of the brain and body to materially change due to the ongoing confluence of internal and external stimuli. Along with providing an important materialist account of self as becoming, this enriches our conception of discourse, and provides generative, empirical components to composition scholarship.

Selected Publications

Crawford, Ryan. Emotional Value in the Composition Classroom: Self, Agency, and Neuroplasticity. Routledge/Taylor & Francis, 2023.

Crawford, Ryan and Andreas Willhoff. "Stillness in the Composition Classroom: Insight, Incubation, Improvisation, Flow, and Meditation." Journal for the Assembly of Expanded Perspectives on Learning, vol. 19, 2014, pp. 74-83.