Jonathan Alexander

picture of Jonathan  Alexander

Chancellor's Professor of English and Informatics
School of Humanities
Faculty, UCI Connected Learning Lab

Associate Dean, Division of Undergraduate Education

Ph.D., Louisiana State University, 1993, Comparative Literature


University of California, Irvine
(Office) 153 Krieger Hall
(Mailing) 435 Humanities Instructional Bldg
Mail Code: 2650
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
Writing Studies & Rhetoric, New Media Studies & Digital Rhetoric, Genre and Popular Fiction, Life Writing, Sexuality Studies
Academic Distinctions
Jonathan Alexander is a three-time recipient of the Ellen Nold Award for Best Articles in the field of Computers and Composition Studies. His books have been nominated for various awards, including the Lambda Literary Award. In 2011, he was awarded the Charles Moran Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Field of Computers and Writing Studies. From 2010-2013, Jonathan was named a UCI Chancellor's Fellow in recognition of his scholarly achievements. In 2016, he was named a Chancellor's Professor.
Research Abstract
Committed to interdisciplinary troublemaking, Jonathan Alexander works generally under the rubric of "writing studies" to explore the creation and uptake of "texts" as they perform different kinds of ideological work in specific contexts. His work has primarily focused on written and digital production in the extra-curriculum, such as self- and collectively-sponsored multimodal forms of composition, including "fan texts." More recently, he has turned his attention to many varied forms of life narrative as a rich mode of rhetorical and political engagement.
Scholarly Monographs

Programming the Future: Politics, Resistance, and Utopian Dreaming in Contemporary Speculative TV. With Sherryl Vint. Under contract with Columbia University Press.

Writing Youth: Young Adult Fiction as Literacy Sponsorship. Lexington Books: Rowman & Littlefield. 2017

Techne: Queer Meditations on Writing the Self. Co-authored with Jacqueline Rhodes. Computers and Composition Digital Press. September 2015. Winner of the 2016 Lavender Rhetorics Award

On Multimodality: New Media in Composition Studies. With Jacqueline Rhodes. NCTE Studies in Writing & Rhetoric. March 2014. Winner of the 2015 CCCC Outstanding Book Award and the 2014 Computers & Composition Distinguished Book Award

Literacy, Sexuality, Pedagogy: Theory and Practice for Composition Studies. Utah State University Press. April 2008

Digital Youth: Emerging Literacies on the World Wide Web. A book in Hampton Press’s “New Dimensions in Computers and Writing Studies” series, edited by Gail E. Hawisher and Cynthia L. Selfe. December 2005 (Nominated for the Computers & Composition Outstanding Book Award)

Creative Nonfiction

Creep: A Life, a Theory, an Apology, a critical memoir. punctum books. September 2017. FINALIST for a 2018 Lambda Literary Award (Gay Memoir category)

Edited Collections

Science Fiction and the Dismal Science: Essays on the Business of Dreammaking. Edited by Gary Westfahl, Gregory Benford, Howard V. Hendrix, and Jonathan Alexander. MacFarland. 2020

Unruly Rhetorics: Protest, Persuasion, and Publics. Co-edited volume with Susan C. Jarratt and Nancy Welch. University of Pittsburgh Press. November 2018

The Routledge Companion to Digital Rhetoric & Writing. Co-edited with Jacqueline Rhodes. Routledge. April 2018

Sexual Rhetorics: Methods, Identities, Publics. Co-edited with Jacqueline Rhodes. Routledge, 2015

Bisexuality and Queer Theory: Intersections, Connections and Challenges. Co-edited with Serena Anderlini D'Onofrio. Routledge. 2012

Role Play: Distance Learning and the Teaching of Writing. Co-edited with Marcia Dickson. A book in Hampton Press’s “New Dimensions in Computers and Writing Studies." December 2005

Bisexuality and Transgenderism: InterSEXions of the Others. Co-edited with Karen Yescavage. Routledge. July 2004 (Nominated for a Lambda Literary Award)


Understanding Rhetoric: A Graphic Guide to Writing. With Elizabeth Losh. Bedford/St. Martin's. First edition: March 2013. Second edition: January 2017

Finding Out: An Introduction to LGBT Studies. With Deborah T. Meem and Michelle Gibson. Sage Publications. First Edition: January 2009. Second Edition: February 2013. Third edition: January 2017

Argument Now, a Brief Rhetoric. Co-written with Margaret Barber, PhD, focusing on the use of computers to teach writing. Pearson/Longman. January 2005

Edited Journal Issues

Special issue of Computers & Composition, entitled “Writing | Designing.” Edited with Julia R. Lupton. Volume 33. September 2014.

Special issue of College English, entitled “Re-Imagining the Social Turn in Composition Studies.” Edited with Jacqueline Rhodes. Vol. 76.6. July 2014.

Special issue of Reflections, a Journal of Writing, Service-Learning, and Community Literacy, entitled “Public/Sex: Connecting Sexuality and Service Learning.” Edited with Janell Haynes and Jacqueline Rhodes. Vol. 9.2. Spring 2010.

Special issue of the Journal of Bisexuality, entitled "Bisexuality & Queer Theory." Co-edited with Serena Anderlini-D'Onofrio. Vol. 9.3-4 July-December 2009.

“Media Convergence,” a special collection of Webtexts for the “Print to Screen” section of Computers and Composition Online. Spring 2008.

Special Issue of Computers and Composition, entitled “Media Convergence.” Vol. 25.1. March 2008. (Winner, Ellen Nold Award)

Special issue of The Journal of Bisexuality, entitled “Looking Both Ways: Bisexuality and the Media.” Co-edited with Dr. Keith Dorwick. Volume 7, Numbers 1 & 2. 2007.

Special issue of Computers & Composition, entitled “Sexuality, Technology, and the Teaching of Writing.” Co-edited with William P. Banks. Vol. 21.3. September 2004. (Winner, Ellen Nold Award)

“Special Cluster: Queer Theory,” for JAC: A Journal of Composition Theory. Co-edited with Michelle Gibson. Vol. 24.1. 2004.

Special issue of the International Journal of Sexuality and Gender Studies, entitled “Queer Webs: Representations of LGBT People and Communities on the World Wide Web.” Vol. 7, Nos. 2 & 3. April/May 2002.

Special issue of the Journal of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Identity, entitled “Queer Values, Beyond Identity.” Vol. 4, No. 4. October 1999.

Recent Articles and Book Chapters

“Theorizing with (a) Difference: Fanfiction, Literacy, and Neurodiversity.” Co-authored with Allison Dziuba and Rebecca W. Black. Data Analysis, Interpretation, and Theory in Literacy Studies Research. Edited by Michele Knobel, Judy Kalman, and Colin Lankshear. Forthcoming.

"The Uses and Abuses of Pop Culture in Ready Player One and Grandmother’s Gold." The Journal of Popular Culture. Forthcoming.

“Queer Lives Still on the Boundary.” With David Wallace. Writing on the Edge. Vol. 30.1 (Fall 2019). (14-26)

"Counterfeit Worlds: Daniel Galouye's Simulacron-3 on Film and Television." Science Fiction and the Dismal Science: Essays on the Business of Dreammaking. Edted by Gary Westfahl, et al. McFarland. 2020. (58-66)

“Toward Wayfinding: A Metaphor for Understanding Writing Experiences.” With Karen Lunsford and Carl Whithaus. Written Communication, Vol. 37.1 (2020). (104–131)

“Recognizing the Limits of Threshold Concept Theory.” Collaboratively written chapter with Elizabeth Wardle, Linda Adler-Kassner, Norbert Elliot, James Hammond, Mya Poe, Jacqueline Rhodes, and Anne-Marie Womack. (Re)Considering What We Know: Learning Thresholds in Writing, Composition, Rhetoric, and Literacy. Edited by Linda Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth Wardle. Utah State University Press. 2019. (15-35)

“On Millennial Fluidity; or, a Second Open Love Letter to Nico Tortorella.’” Los Angeles Review of Books. November 26, 2019.

"Writing a Queer Life, or, S*Town in Five Rhetorical Situations." The Pedagogical Potential of Story: Life Writing, Composition, and Blended Scholarship. Edited by Amy E. Robillard and D. Shane Combs. Peter Lang. 2019. (163-176)

“The Problem of the Reparative in the Shadow of Stonewall.” Los Angeles Review of Books. July 1, 2019.

"Queering Legacy, Becoming Transient." Pre/Text. Special issue on "Queer Rhetorics: Dirtysexy" edited by Jacqueline Rhodes. Vol. 24: 1-4. (2018)

"Redirecting Attention, Again – and Hope." Works & Days. 70/71, vol. 36. (333-344)

“When Speaking Is Not Enough: On Laurie Halse Anderson’s ‘Shout.’” Los Angeles Review of Books. March 12, 2019.

"Storytelling Can Change the World: An Interview with Ashley and Leslie Saunders." Los Angeles Review of Books. March 2, 2019.

"The Ethics of Memoir: Ethos in Uptake." With Katherine Mack. Rhetoric Society Quarterly. Vol 49.1 (February 2019). (49-70)

"Representations of Autism in Online Harry Potter Fanfiction." With Rebecca W. Black, and Vicky Chen. Journal of Literacy Research, 2019, Vol. 51(1) 30–51.

"Practicing Utopia: Recent Retrospectives on the Work of David Wojnarowicz." Los Angeles Review of Books. January 2, 2019.

"With a limited onscreen presence, autistic characters have emerged in another medium: fanfition." With Rebecca W. Black. The Conversation. December 13, 2018.

"Going for Gold: The Work and Career of Brian Jordan Alvarez." Los Angeles Review of Books. October 5, 2018.

"Being Cruised." Essay for the Los Angeles Review of Books. October 2, 2018.

"The Queer Arts of Friendship." Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly Journal, 19, July 2018.

"We Are all Abnegation Now: Suffering Agency in the Divergent Series." With Jasmine Lee. Journal for the Fantastic in the Arts. Vol. 28, No. 3. (388-401)

"The Invisible Life of Elliot Rodger: Social Media and the Documentation of a Tragedy." With Carol Burke. The Routledge Companion to Digital Rhetoric & Writing. Routledge. April 2018. (237-247)

“Fantasy Lands: ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Call Me By Your Name.’” Los Angeles Review of Books. March 15, 2018.

“Feeling the Fear of Difference: Celebrating ‘A Wrinkle in Time.’” Los Angeles Review of Books. March 8, 2018.

"Sex and the AI: Queering Intimacies." With Karen Yescavage. Science Fiction Film and Television, 11.1 (2018). (73–96)

"Desiring Literacy." For the symposium "What Will We Have Made of Literacy?" College Composition and Communication. 69:3 (February 2018). (527-531)

Interview with Jonathan Alexander. How Writing Faculty Write by Christine E. Tully. Utah State University Press, 2018. (72-82)

“John Green’s Anxieties: On ‘Turtles All the Way Down.’” Los Angeles Review of Books. December 28, 2017.

“Other People’s Children, Part 3, or Ghost Touches: Myriam Gurba’s ‘Mean’ and Sexual Violence.” Los Angeles Review of Books. December 11, 2017.

“Other People’s Children, Part 2: Stories in the Aftermath, or ‘The Hate U Give.’” Los Angeles Review of Books. December 8, 2017.

“Other People’s Children: ‘Younger,’ ‘Cucumber,’ and an Open Love Letter to Nico Tortorella.” Los Angeles Review of Books. December 1, 2017.

“Strange Bedfellows: Queers, Conservatives, Catholics.” Los Angeles Review of Books. August 28, 2017.

"Flows of Literacy Across Corporate and User-Produced Virtual Worlds." With Rebecca W. Black and Ksenia Korobkova. Teachers College Record, 119.12 (2017)

"Queering What We Know about Writing." WPA: Writing Program Administration. Vol. 41, No. 1, Fall 2017. (137-149)

"Outside Within: Growing Up Gay in the South." Southern Quarterly, 54, 3/4, Spring/Summer 2017 (10-22)

“Damaging Words: On ‘Thirteen Reasons Why.’” Los Angeles Review of Books. May 24, 2017.

“Everyone Grows Up: Jonathan Alexander and Brian Selznick in Conversation.” Los Angeles Review of Books. April 19, 2017.

“Blinded By Donald Trump, Or, Slowing Down.” Los Angeles Review of Books. April 13, 2017.

“What Feeds the Imagination: Jonathan Alexander Interviews Kenneth Kidd.” Los Angeles Review of Books. April 6, 2017.

"Queered Writing Assessment." College English. Vol. 79, No. 2, November 2016. (202-205)

"On Alter Egos and Facing Monsters: Jonathan Alexander Interviews Francesca Lia Block." Los Angeles Review of Books. September 26, 2016.!

“Frameworks for Failure.” With Daniel M. Gross. Pedagogy. 16.2 (2016). (273-295)

"After Homonormativity: Hope for a (More) Queer Canon of Gay YA Literature." With William P. Banks. Beyond Borders: Queer Eros and Ethos (Ethics) in LGBTQ Young Adult Literature. Eds. Darla Linville and David Lee Carson. New York: Peter Lang. 2016

“Aftermaths of an Epidemic: On Dale Peck’s Visions and Revisions.” Los Angeles Review of Books. September 18, 2015.

“Failures of Nerve: While We’re Young and The Overnight.” Los Angeles Review of Books. September 1, 2015.

“Unnatural Disasters, or Queering Katrina.” Los Angeles Review of Books. August 27, 2015. Also appears in print in the Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly Journal, Summer 2015. (110-117)

“Late L’Engle: The Wrinkles of Time, Redeemed.” Los Angeles Review of Books. August 16, 2015.

“The Literacy Games: Summer Lessons about Media from YA Fiction.” Los Angeles Review of Books. August 2, 2015.

“Kids in the Aftermath: Katrina in Young Adult Fiction.” Los Angeles Review of Books. July 21, 2015.

“The Darker Side of the Sorting Hat: Representations of Educational Testing in Dystopian Young Adult Fiction." With Rebecca Black. Children's Literature. Volume 43 (2015). (208-234)

"Narrating Compulsion: Reading Gay Male Writing.” QED: A Journal of LGBTQ Worldmaking. Volume 2, Number 1 (Spring 2015). (37-60)

“Glenn Gould & the Rhetorics of Sound.” Computers and Composition. Volume 37 (September 2015). (73-89)

“Aesthetics and Artificiality from À rebours to Avatar: Some Varieties of the Virtual Since 1884.” Science Fiction Studies. Vol. 41.3. November 2014. (502-523)

“Telling the Truth about Sex: Rhetorical Responsiveness in the Case of Ted Haggard.” JAC: A Journal of Rhetoric, Culture, & Politics. Vol. 34.1-2. 2014. (105-131)

“Indirection, Anxiety, and the Folds of Reading.” With Jacqueline Rhodes and Laura Micciche. Reader: Essays in Reader-Oriented Theory, Criticism, and Pedagogy. Vol. 65-66. Fall 2013 & Spring 2014. (43-71)

“Rhetorical Education and Student Activism.” With Susan C. Jarratt. College English. Vol. 76.6. July 2014. (525-544)

“The Career of David Levithan: It Gets Better and Better.” Los Angeles Review of Books.

“Imagining Alien Sex.” A four-part article, with David Lumb and Karen Yescavage. Los Angeles Review of Books. December 3, 2013-January 5, 2014.

"Repetition Compulsions: Dennis Cooper and the Ethics of Transgression." Journal of Homosexuality. (forthcoming)

"Flattening Effects: Composition’s Multicultural Imperative and the Problem of Narrative Coherence." With Jacqueline Rhodes. College Composition and Communication. Vol. 65, No. 3, February 2014. (430-454)

"California in/and Science Fiction: The Future is Here." A special cluster of articles, curated by Jonathan Alexander and introduced by Jonathan Alexander and Catherine Liu. Los Angeles Review of Books. August 15, 2013.

"Revolution Now? The Family Romances of Post-Apocalyptic Media." Los Angeles Review of Books. December 10, 2012.

"Katrina Media: The Arts of HBO's 'Treme' in the Aftermath of Trauma." Los Angeles Review of Books. September 23, 2012.

“Queer Rhetoric and the Pleasures of the Archive.” With Jacqueline Rhodes. Enculturation, 2012.

“Queerness, Multimodality, and the Possibilities of Re/Orientation.” With Jacqueline Rhodes. Composing (Media)= Composing (Embodiment): Bodies, Technologies, Writing, the Teaching of Writing. Ed. Kristin L. Arola and Anne Frances Wysocki. Utah State UP, 2012. (187-211)

"Experience, Embodiment, Excess: Multimedia[ed] [E]visceration and Installation Rhetoric." With Jacqueline Rhodes. In The New Work of Composing, edited by Deborah Journet, Cheryl Ball, and Ryan Trauman. Computers and Composition Digital Press. 2012.

"Installation Rhetoric: A Manifesto for the Body." With Jacqueline Rhodes. College Composition and Communication Online 1.1. December 2011

Response to "Prompts, Props, and Performativity: Commemorating Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick.” College Composition and Communication Online 1.1. December 2011

“The ‘Write’ Context: Embedding Information Literacy.” With Cathy Palmer and Kevin Ruminson. 2011. Journal of Information Fluency.

“Queer: An Impossible Subject for Composition.” With Jacqueline Rhodes. JAC. Volume 31: 1-2. 2011 (177-206)

"Whose Literacy Is It Anyway? Examining a First-Year Approach to Gaming Across Curricula." With Elizabeth Losh. Currents in Electronic Literacy. 2011.

“Straight Eye for the Gay Guy: Composing Queerness.” Journal of Homosexuality. Volume 57.6. July 2010 (697 - 729)

"Technologies of the Self in the Aftermath: Affect, Subjectivity, Composition." With Jacqueline Rhodes. Rhetoric Review. Vol. 29.2. 2010 (145-164)

“Queer Rhetorical Agency: Questioning Narratives of Heteronormativity.” With David Wallace. JAC 29.4. 2009 (793-819)

Recent Multimedia / Creative Work

"Letters," an excerpt from Burning Time, a collaborative book project with Antoinette LaFarge. The Southern Quarterly, 56(2) (Winter 2019). (90-95).

"Savage Parade: 12 Poems." Assaracus: A Journal of Gay Poetry. Issue 10. April 2013

“Queered: A Literacy Narrative.” A twenty-minute film created with Jacqueline Rhodes. 2011 Computers and Writing Conference. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Screened May 20, 2011
Published online at Technoculture:

"daybreak: a nietzschean rhapsody." Polari: An International Journal of Queer Creative Writing. Issue 2, October 2010.

“phonesex : a digital collage” and “dis|orientation : a straight closet.” Published online in Harlot, A Revealing Look at the Arts of Persuasion. Volume 1, Number 1. Fall 2008.
Professional Societies
Modern Language Association
National Council of Teachers of English
Association of Internet Researchers
Speculative Literature Foundation
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