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 just joined the University Writing Program at UC Davis this fall, where I will be teaching courses on business writing, advanced composition (for graduate school), and other upper division courses. I just 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. 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 dissertation, I explored the complex intersections of ideologies, digital technologies, and identity (such as class, gender, sexuality, and race, etc.) in the literacy and community practices of online fanfiction. My project included textual analysis of fannish texts such as stories, author’s notes, how-to writing guides, etc., as well as questionnaires and interviews with fanwriters. I argued that a close inspection of fanfiction practices demonstrates the complex ways in which identity features are coded and performed into readings of both “source texts,” and fan texts such as stories, author’s notes, reader reviews, discussion forum comments, and user profiles. In addition, fanfiction practices provide us with an insight into how digital technologies interact with literacy practices – especially in terms of how these technologies change the ways in which texts are produced, circulated, and received. Finally, engaging with online research of fanfiction provides us with important ways to reconsider our work as researchers in rhetoric and composition.

While my dissertation research 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 writing a book building off of the research in my doctoral thesis, in which I address the ways in which fanwriting fits into the total literacy lifeworlds of fans, including their emotions, their daily lives, their family and school histories, etc. I am also beginning collaborative research into how best to work with multilingual writers, especially in our ever more digital classrooms. 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.