A female professor in front of a bricked building.

I am motivated by people. As a teacher, that’s students; as a researcher, it’s the people most impacted at the heart of my projects; as a human, it’s my family.

Ashanka Kumari, Ph.D.
Doctoral Coordinator/Advisor and Assistant Professor

  • Faculty
Literature and Languages
Ashanka Kumari Headshot.
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Literature and Languages

Dr. Kumari believes in creating an academic community where her students are first priority. Her current work centers first-generation-to-college doctoral students in rhetoric and composition. Her research and teaching areas include graduate student professionalization, multimodal composition and pedagogy, and the intersections among identity studies, digital literacies and popular culture.

Ashanka also serves as an Associate Editor of Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy; copy editor for enculturation: A Journal of Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture, and a founding member of the nextGEN listserv–an international rhetoric and writing graduate student listserv.

A Conversation with Dr. Ashanka Kumari

What do you like most about your career?

“The autonomy and the possibilities that remain. I'm still in the early part of the tenure-track path, and I'm excited about what's to come in terms of my future research, teaching and other professional endeavors. I genuinely love the work I get to do and the people I get to work with.”

What is your proudest accomplishment?

“Completing my Ph.D. and any college degrees. I'm a first-generation student, teacher-scholar, a child of immigrants, and a woman of color–this meant a lot to me and my family.”

What motivates you?

“People. As a teacher, that's students; as a researcher, it's the people most impacted at the heart of my projects; as a human, it's my family.”

How many languages do you speak?

In varying degrees, 5. Fluently, 3.

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., Rhetoric and Composition, University of Louisville, 2019
  • M.A., English, Composition and Rhetoric, University of Nebraska- Lincoln, 2015
  • B.A., English, The University of Alabama, 2013
  • BAC, Journalism, The University of Alabama, 2013

Honors and Awards

  • Global Human Rights Fellowship ($10,000), Texas A&M University- Commerce, 2020-2021
  • Kairos Service Award for work on the nextGEN Listserv presented at the 35th Computers and Writing Conference in East Lansing, Michigan, 2019
  • Conference on College Composition and Communication Scholars for the Dream Award, NCTE, 2018

Research Interests

  • Composition
  • Literacy
  • Digital media
  • Identity
  • Pop culture
  • Cultural rhetorics
  • ENG 333 – Advanced Nonfiction Writing (Honors)
  • ENG 341 – Professional Writing
  • ENG 771 – Theory & Practice of Teaching: Toward an Anti-Racist Rhetoric and Composition

Selected Publications

  • Horner, Bruce, Megan Faver Hartline, Ashanka Kumari, and Laura Sceniak Matravers, editors. Mobility Work in Composition: Translation, Migration, Transformation. Utah State UP, Forthcoming, March 2021.
  • Kumari, Ashanka. “Community Engagement for the Graduate Student Soul: Ruminations on Reflections.” Reflections: A Journal of Community-Engaged Writing and Rhetoric, vol. 20, no. 1, 2020, pp. 122-131.
  • Kumari, Ashanka, Sweta Baniya, and Kyle Larson. “The Necessity of Genre Disruption in Organizing an Advocacy Space for and by Graduate Students.” Xchanges: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Technical Communication, Rhetoric, and Writing Across the Curriculum, vol. 15, no. 1, 2020.

Teaching And Research Interests

composition, literacy, digital media, identity, pop culture, cultural rhetorics

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