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Graduate Research Forum: Logan Middleton

Event Type
Center for Writing Studies
Oct 14, 2021   12:00 - 1:00 pm  

Logan Middleton, a CWS PhD candidate, will be presenting his Graduate Research Forum (GRF) talk on Thursday, October 14th at 12:00pm CT. Logan will deliver an individual 30-35-minute talk, after which we'll have 20 or so minutes for Q&A.

CWS GRF talks are prepared and delivered by advanced CWS graduate students. These talks are based upon graduate student's dissertation research. GRF talks are also necessary prerequisites for those grads earning writing studies concentrations with their degrees.


"Rule Bending as Literacy: College-in-Prison Educators and the (Circum)Navigation of State Power"

Abstract: Even as education is always a high-stakes endeavor, the stakes of prison education contexts are even higher. Given ongoing violences of surveillance, censorship, and physical harm perpetuated by staff, prisons are death-making institutions that are neither conducive to literacy practices nor the flourishing of human life. At the same time, however, prison educators working with incarcerated students navigate and push back against these oppressions to support student learning on the inside in everyday contexts.

In exploring these tensions through ethnographic research, I argue that prison educators mobilize complex and highly situated literacy practices to subtly and quietly bend the rules in carceral environments. In deploying subversive acts of “creative maladjustment” (King Jr., Kohl), these instructors circumnavigate state power to sustain educational commitments to incarcerated students in the face of state violence. Through such explorations, I contend that literacy educators can better comprehend what it means to resist the state: for research, praxis, and survival.

Bio: Logan Middleton (he/him) is a PhD candidate in English and Writing Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His work has appeared in Reflections: A Journal of Community-Engaged Writing and Rhetoric, The Journal of Academic Freedom, and Writing Center Journal. He is a rank-and-file member of the Graduate Employees Organization Local 6300 and is proud to have organized with Defund UIPD and the Illinois Coalition for Higher Education in Prisons to push back against the oppressions of the carceral state.

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