Dr. Gavin P. Johnson (he/him) explores the intersections between rhetorical education, writing cultures and digital technologies. His research uses theories of queer worldbuilding and critical pedagogy to challenge oppressive structures within and beyond the writing classroom while imagining possibilities for lives oriented toward social justice and communal joy. In his courses, he strives to build student-led learning coalitions across difference to facilitate knowledge-making and collective action.
A Conversation with Gavin Johnson
Why do you like teaching?
I enjoy teaching because it offers students and me opportunities to be curious, investigate complex issues and compose possibilities. I see education as a knowledge-making endeavor that helps us understand who we are and how we might move through the world in relation with others. My job, as a teacher, is to help build spaces for students to ask tough questions, grapple with complex content and think critically about how they can compose change in their professional, personal and political communities. My teaching philosophy boils down to this: If teachers trust students to engage in difficult, rigorous, and rewarding work, together we invent possibilities.
What is your favorite course to teach?
I love teaching courses that focus on digital and multimodal composing. For example, at my previous institutions, I've taught courses on “Mobile Technologies as Rhetorical Technologies” in which students and I investigate how mobile tech like smartphones and wearable devices impact how we interface with and move through the world. In courses like that, we don't just learn about the technology but also use it to propose user-centered interfaces for mobile apps designed to provoke social action on local issues. I jokingly call it the “Playing with Your Phone Class,” but we use the technologies in our pockets to do some difficult (but exciting) learning. I'm hoping to bring that course to A&M-Commerce soon!
What do you like most about your career?
Pursuing a career as a professor and scholar means I get to be endlessly curious and have conversations with smart, diverse groups of people about my curiosities. I've always been someone who wanted to know more about the world and growing up in the “digital age” gave me access to lots of information but also lots of people. As I learned more about the world through connections with people who are different from me and have other orientations to the world, I began recognizing how power circulates in institutions (like universities) and started questioning how we might use rhetoric, writing, and technology to build new worlds that are more equitable and just. Teaching and producing scholarship as a professor allow me to constantly ask, “Why?” and push toward the many different answers out there.
What is a current project?
An ongoing project that I'm particularly proud of is the Digital Rhetoric Privacy Collective (DRPC). The DRPC is an interactive, coalitional resource which features activities, assignments, lesson plans, and other teaching materials for teaching about digital privacy and surveillance in writing classrooms. I'm a part of the Advisory Board with Dr. Charles Woods (A&M-Commerce), Morgan Banville (East Carolina U.), Cecilia Shelton (U of Maryland-College Park), Dr. Chen Chen (Utah State U.) and Dr. Noah Wason (Colgate University). We are currently planning a number of initiatives, some of which Dr. Charles Woods and I hope to bring to the A&M-Commerce campus!
- Ph.D., Rhetoric, Composition and Literacy, The Ohio State University, 2020
- M.A., Rhetoric and Composition, North Carolina University, 2015
- B.A., English Language and Literature, Nicholls State University, 2013
- Assistant Professor, Texas A&M University-Commerce, 2022-Present
- Assistant Professor, Christian Brothers University, 2020-2022
- Administrative Associate for Second Year Writing, The Ohio State University, 2017-2020
- Graduate Teaching Associate & Instructor of Record, The Ohio State University, 2015-2020
- Associate Director of Digital Media and Composition Institute (DMAC), The Ohio State University, 2017-2019
- Rhetoric & Composition
- Digital Media
- Research Methods
- ENG 333: Honors Advanced Writing (Non-fiction)
- ENG 776: Methods and Methodologies in Writing Studies
- ENG 680: Composition Studies
- Multimodal Composition
- Queer Rhetorics
- Writing Assessment
- Critical Digital Pedagogies
- Digital Humanities
- 2021 NCTE/CCCC Lavender Rhetorics Dissertation Award for Excellence in Queer Scholarship: https://cccc.ncte.org/cccc/awards/lavender
- 2020 Honorable Mention, Computers and Composition Hugh Burns Best Dissertation Award: http://candcblog.org/computersandcomposition/html/awards.htm
- 2019 Kairos Service Award as part of the startup team for nextGen: An International Listserv for Rhetoric and Writing Graduate Students: https://kairos.technorhetoric.net/awards/pastwinners.html#grad
- Johnson, Gavin P. (2022). “(Queer) Optimism Ain't (Im)Possible.” In Jacqueline Rhodes and Jonathan Alexander (Eds), The Routledge Handbook of Queer Rhetorics, pp. 421-428.
- Blancato, Michael, Gavin P. Johnson, Beverly J. Moss, and Sara Wilder. (2022). “Brokering Community-Engaged Writing Pedagogies: Instructors Imagining and Negotiating Race, Space, and Literacy.” Literacy in Composition Studies 9(1), pp. 23-46. https://licsjournal.org/index.php/LiCS/article/view/884
- Baniya, Sweta, Sara Doan, Gavin P. Johnson, Ashanka Kumari, and Virginia M. Schwarz. (2021). “Coalitional literacies of Safety and Solidarity: A White Paper for nextGEN International Listserv.” Computers and Composition, 62. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compcom.2021.102681
- Johnson, Gavin P., Melissa Guadrón, Kiera M. Hambrick, Yanar Hashlamon, Addison Koneval, and Christa Teston. (2021). “Responding to the Investigative Pivots of Rhetoric Research.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 51(5), pp. 407-442. https://doi.org/10.1080/02773945.2021.1972130
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has selected A&M-Commerce to receive a $100,000 College Readiness and Success Models grant. Dr. Pamela Webster, associate professor in the Department of Mathematics, and Dr. Gavin Johnson, assistant professor and director of writing in the Department of Literature and Languages will serve as co-principal investigators. The grant is earmarked […]
A collective featuring two Texas A&M University-Commerce faculty members is the recipient of a monetary award that will be used to establish a digital rhetorical privacy lab on the university campus. Dr. Charles Woods and Dr. Gavin Johnson, both assistant professors in the Department of Literature and Languages at A&M-Commerce, are advisory board members of […]