Brit Kelley, PhD | University of California Davis

toronto zoo

Me saying hi to a butterfly at the Toronto Zoo in the Summer of 2017.

I joined the University Writing Program at UC Davis in the fall of 2020, where I have been teaching courses on business writing, advanced composition, and a lower division course focused on effective academic reading and writing. I moved from King’s College London in the U.K. where I was teaching courses in the Digital Humanities focused on digital cultures, technology and surveillance, technology and online communities, identity, practices, etc., as well as running the Writing Lab for all students across the programs in the department. Before that, I served as the Writing Center Director at the University of Jamestown. I received my PhD in Rhetoric and Composition from the University of Louisville in 2016, and since then, I have been dedicated to working with students on their research and writing skills, both in the classroom and outside of it.

All of my research interests surround literacy and identity in one way or another. In my recent book project, Loving fanfiction: Exploring the role of emotions in online fandoms, I explore the complex ways in which emotions intersect with popular culture, learning, writing, and the ongoing journey of self-identification. I conduct an extended and systematic analysis of emotions by addressing work from a five-year ethnographic study across fandoms—from Harry Potter and WWE, to Gotham and Twilight. Through exploring fans’ narratives about themselves and the fanwork they produce and consume, I theorize how identity, cognition, emotion, the body, and embodiment come together in literacy development and practices. This work not only helps us to better understand fans, but has larger implications for academic work, namely: recovering the key role of emotion in teaching and research, and providing scholars with tools for conducting more ethical and sustainable research.

While my recent book displays my scholarly interests in popular culture, identity, and certainly literacy studies, not to mention fanfiction, I am particularly interested, across my work as a scholar, teacher, and administrator, in the deeply emotional journey of identity-shaping that happens especially in moments of transition: e.g., from high school to college student; from college student to graduate student; from student to new teacher, etc. I am particularly dedicated to mentoring, and building both informal and formal structures to aid the navigation of these transitions, in order to nourish both self-confidence and a sense of competence. As a teacher, I am committed to encouraging students to consider genre, Discourses, and community practices in their research and writing. I am particularly interested in providing both assignments and spaces for students to work through the political and emotional issues not only of their chosen topics, but certainly of their transitions into the college environment.

My future work will continue to focus particularly on elements of ethics and emotion in literacy practices across spaces and contexts. At the moment, I am focusing on collaborative work with my U.K. colleagues on how best to work with multilingual and multinational writers in different academic environments in the U.S. and U.K. Ultimately, this work is geared towards helping teachers and administrators to better serve their diverse student body with support, care, and respect. Additional research areas include: methodology; multilingual writers and translanguaging; Borderland literatures in the United States; and writing centers.

**A note on the blog – “My Textual Romance”** This blog is meant to be a space to work through ideas, in public. I share it with potential study participants, fellow fans, students, etc. It is meant to be emergent, dialogical, and much more informal.