Bronwyn T. Williams

Professor of English and Director, University Writing Center

beirut headshot.JPGI love to write and teach writing. My teaching and research interests focus on issues of literacy, identity, digital media, pedagogy, popular culture, and creative nonfiction. My recurring research interests have been the intersections of the literacy practices people engage in in their daily lives, including their uses of popular culture, and the literacy practices they encounter in schools and universities. As digital media technologies change how all of us engage in reading and writing, my research has recently taken me more deeply into the study of online technologies and multimodal texts. I also remain interested in how identity is constructed and represented in writing, from the academic world to creative nonfiction. I am particularly intrigued in how issues of power, cross-cultural contact, and popular culture influence how we compose our identities and present them to the world. I also write creative nonfiction, both as an approach to my scholarly writing and as essays on other subjects. I spent spring 2013 at the University of Sheffield on a Fulbright Fellowship and worked with their Centre for the Study of Literacies on research in community settings and schools in and around Sheffield.

My work builds on scholarship in New Literacy Studies that maintains we should regard literacy not as a set of autonomous skills but instead as way of making meaning in different, sometimes overlapping domains of life. My research argues that the popular culture that pervades our culture has a significant influence on how students at all levels of education perceive and respond to writing pedagogy. In a world in which communication happens increasingly by electronic and visual means, it is vital that we attend to the intersections of seemingly disconnected literacies such as television, film, digital media technologies, and print and the ways in which teachers can draw upon certain critical and creative abilities their students already possess, but that have generally been dismissed and ignored.

My teaching is inextricable from my writing and research. As a teacher I believe that we need to build on the knowledge our students bring into the classroom, and that we can only do this when we listen carefully to what they have to say. I am also interested in the question of how writers respond to unfamiliar literacy situations. Although we cannot prepare our students for every rhetorical or literacy challenge they will meet in their lives, we can work to help them develop a rhetorical awareness that will help them negotiate the unfamiliar writing and reading situations they encounter both inside the academy and beyond. I also believe that writing can be pleasurable and fulfilling, even as it is hard work, and I hope that my teaching provides opportunities for students to realize such moments and achievements. I am currently director of the University of Louisville Writing Center. I have had a broad range of teaching experiences in composition and rhetoric, literature, creative writing, popular culture, and journalism.

For more on my research interests and publications, teaching, and other bits of information, follow the links on the left. I also keep a blog on some of these issues that can be found here:


Contact Information

Department of English
University of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40292