Steven Lessner

Instructor in English
Alamance Building 303C
2338 Campus Box
Elon, NC 27244
slessner@elon.edu (336) 278-5883

Education

B.A.  English cum laude-Rhetoric and Writing track, Salisbury University 2005

M.S. Professional Writing-Composition Pedagogy and Theory track, Towson University 2007

PhD Rhetoric and Writing, (concentrations in Critical Studies in Literacy and Pedagogy, Cultural Rhetorics) Michigan State University expected 2013

Employment History

Elon University, beginning Fall 2013

Courses Taught

Elon University

COR 110: The Global Experience

ENG 100: Supplemental Writing Workshop

ENG 110:  Writing: Argument and Inquiry

 

 

Michigan State University

Composition and Literature, (writing course taught to high school students at sophomore, junior, and senior levels): Summer 2013, Upward Bound Program at Michigan State University

Writing—The American Ethnic and Racial Experience (first-year writing course): Spring 2013, Writing, Rhetoric and American Cultures at Michigan State University

Preparation for College Writing (first-year writing course): Fall 2012, Summer 2008, Fall 2007, Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures at Michigan State University

Writing—The Evolution of American Thought (first-year writing course/ taught this course as a hybrid course partly online): Summer 2012, Summer 2011, Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures at Michigan State University

Writing—Men In America (first-year writing course): Spring 2012, Fall 2011, Spring 2011, Fall 2010, Spring 2008, Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures at Michigan State University

Guest Lecturer, “Investigating Disciplinary Literacies,” two sections of Walter Sistrunk’s Writing— The Evolution of American Thought (first-year writing course), Michigan State University, November 2010

Writing—Women In America (first-year writing course) (co-teaching): Spring 2010, Fall 2009, Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures at Michigan State University

Research

First-Year Writing as Intellectual Space, Gender, Race, and Intellectual Work in Rhetoric and Writing, Invention in Writing, African American Rhetoric, WPA Studies, Writing Studies

Current Projects

My current research project opens up spaces in the field of Composition Studies for the voices of African American undergraduate male writers’ contributions.  This project is based on an in depth survey of rhetorical theories, as well as an exploration of major concepts that drive Composition Studies.  The secondary research I conduct identities two racist tropes (intellectual deficiency and the dangerous body) that have unjustly influenced African American undergraduate males’ identities of themselves as non-writers, placing limitations on their contributions.  These limitations affect invention, the selection of texts, the literacies we honor, the positionality of our students as writers and the effectiveness of our collaborations.  I argue that we must call for these racist tropes to be combated through promoting a reconceptualization of the concepts ‘writer’ and ‘intellectual’ that includes this student population's intellectual writing activities as part of first-year writing pedagogy.  My current project uses a case study of four African American undergraduate male writers to implement a formative methodological approach that focuses on the contributions this student population can offer the field.  Through interviewing these undergraduate writers and coding their papers, I take note of the intellectual writing activities they engage in outside of classroom walls.  I allow their intellectual contributions to be at the core of my research and to directly inform suggestions I give first-year writing teachers for the inclusion of African American undergraduate male writers’ voices in first-year writing. 

Publications

Lessner, Steven and Collin Craig. “Finding Your Way In: Invention as Inquiry-Based Learning in First-Year Writing.” Reprinted in Writing College, Writing Life (a reader for the First Year Writing Program at Boise State University). New York: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2012.

Lessner, Steven and Collin Craig. “Finding Your Way In: Invention as Inquiry Based Learning in First-Year Writing.” Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing, Volume 1. Ed. Charles Lowe and Pavel Zemliansky.  Parlor Press and WAC Clearinghouse, 2010.  Print and Online.  This publication can be found at the following link:  http://writingspaces.org/essays/finding-your-way-invention

Contributor to The iDeal Reader published online by The McGraw-Hill Companies, writing questions for reading selections and providing author biographical information, March 2009-present.

Presentations

Most Recent

"Discovering Protest Narratives In Music: Writing As Advocacy In First-Year Writing."  Annual Convention of the National Council of Teachers of English.  Washington D.C., upcoming November 2014.  Presentation. 

"Emerging Musical Narratives: Opening Spaces for Students' Developing Rhetorical Landscapes in Writing."  Annual Convention of the National Council of Teachers of English.  Washington D.C., upcoming November 2014.  Session Chair.

"It Was Written": Using Organic Intellectuals of Hip Hop to Open Spaces for First-Year African American Male Students in First-Year Writing."  Circling Our Wagons: Reflections on Hip Hop Landscape(s) Conference, Albany State University, Albany, Georgia, April 2014.  Presentation.

"Into The Paper/ Like I Was Ink": Learning from African American Males' Invention and Arrangement Writing Strategies In First-Year Writing."  National Council of Teachers of English Conference, Boston,  November 2013.  Presentation.

"All The Words Pass The Margin": Opening Inventive Spaces for African American Undergraduate Males Through Hiphop.  Hiphop Literacies Conference: Pedagogies for Social Change, Ohio State University, February 2013.  Presentation.

“Vital Voices In Our Field: Recognizing and Learning from the Intellectual Contributions of African American Undergraduate Male Writers” in “Our Call For Action: Reframing The Constructed Identities of Students and Teachers Of Writing In Higher Education” (session chair) with Elizabeth Edelstein and Amanda Gates.  Rhetoric Society of America Conference, Philadelphia, May 2012.  Conference Panel.

“Space, Portal, Passage: Invention and the Near Invisible” with Leonora Smith, Nancy C. DeJoy, Bump Halbritter, Julie Lindquist, Jenn Fishman, Sarah Arroyo,  and Jason Wirtz.  Conference on College Composition and Communication, St. Louis, March 2012.  Full Day Workshop.

“Jammin’ with Sources: Using Popular Music to Help Students Explore Citation Possibilities” in “Get In There And Act Right: Using Citations to Open Up Intellectual Spaces for First-Year Writers” with Walter Sistrunk and Natalie Graham.  National Council of Teachers of English Conference, Chicago, November 2011.  Teaching Demonstration.

“Breakin’ It Down: Creating Dialogues Between Popular and Academic Literacies by Using Popular Music in First-Year Writing” in “Music, Microphones, Multimedia: Writing with Sound in the Composition Classroom” with Crystal VanKooten and Bump Halbritter.  Computers and Writing Conference, University of Michigan, May 2011. Conference Panel.

“Situated Invention---Mapping, Documenting, Theorizing and Contesting Generativity” with Leonora Smith, Nancy C. DeJoy, Bump Halbritter, Julie Lindquist, Jenn Fishman, Sarah Arroyo, Jason Wirtz. Conference on College Composition and Communication, Atlanta, April 2011.  Full Day Workshop.

Awards

Excellence-in-Teaching Citation Award, Michigan State University, February 2012