teacher. writer. artist.
Dr. Rachel N. Spear is an Assistant Professor of English at Francis Marion University, where she teaches first-year writing and upper-level writing courses. In 2015, she will take on composition coordination duties. Prior, she held the role as the Interim Expanded Composition Coordinator of the University of Southern Mississippi, where she oversaw twenty-two sections of Expanded Composition, supported about fifteen faculty members, and coordinated all aspects of the first-year Expanded Composition Program. As a scholar, teacher, and person, Spear highlights the transformative power of stories and views life-writing as a catalyst to self-awareness and cultural analysis.
She received her doctorate from Louisiana State University in Comparative Literature, focusing on women's studies, writing studies, and pedagogy. Spear investigates life-writing posttrauma at the intersections of composition, literary, and women's studies and fuses the expressive and healing arts with composition and autobiographical studies. Her research areas include trauma studies, writing pedagogy, women writers, and transformative learning. Exploring gender, genre, rhetoric, identity formation, and narrative (re)construction, Spear uses an interdisciplinary approach when examining nonfiction trauma narratives by women writers and focusing on the memoir genre, primarily trauma narratives and illness narratives. Spear relies on composition and pedagogical theory when interrogating benefits and implications of incorporating these texts in courses and investigating the role of the personal in composition studies.
She has published in Pedagogy and has presented at numerous conferences on personal writing, composition studies, trauma narratives, and pedagogical theory. She is a recipient of LSU's Ann Veronica Simon Outstanding Dissertation Award. She is currently working on articles related to illness literacies and rape rhetoric and a larger book project tentatively titled Women Writing Trauma. Spear has also been recognized for her teaching with high evaluations from students, colleagues, and annual reports; she has also received a student-nominated STAR Award for her efforts.