Jonathan Alexander (professor)

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Jonathan Alexander
Born (1967-10-02) October 2, 1967 (age 51)
New Orleans, Louisiana
OccupationAcademic, Cultural Critic, Editor, and Memoirist
EducationPh.D., Comparative Literature
Alma materLouisiana State University
SubjectWriting Studies & Rhetoric, New Media Studies & Digital Rhetoric, Genre and Popular Fiction, Life Writing, Sexuality Studies
Years active1990-present

Jonathan Alexander (born October 2, 1967) is an American rhetorician and memoirist. He is Chancellor's Professor of English, Informatics, Education, and Gender & Sexuality Studies at the University of California, Irvine.[1] His scholarly and creative work is situated at the intersections of digital culture, sexuality, and composition studies.[2]


Alexander received his BA in English and an MA and PhD in Comparative Literature (1993) from Louisiana State University. He studied with James Olney, who was the Voorhies Professor of English and an editor of The Southern Review.

Academic contributions[edit]

In an interview with Alexander, Bre Garrett summarizes his contributions to the field of composition studies: "Across almost two decades of work in the profession, Jonathan Alexander has contributed to vast conversations in the field of composition, and he has paved deliberate routes for cross-disciplinary studies that intersect sexuality, literacy, and technologies. Across a sea of publications directed toward diverse audiences, Jonathan has remained attentive to the relationship among bodies, poetic rhetorics, and platforms of public communication. In this interview, Jonathan provides readers with a forward-looking perspective about the possibilities and openness of composition as a complex research field, yet he also reflects on the challenges and constraints, some self-imposed, that composition now faces as an established discipline. Jonathan accounts for his inaugural moment as a researcher in composition, recalling how he discovered a methodological space where he could remain committed to his ongoing interest in sexuality studies, and integrate, what was at the time, his emerging interest in computerized pedagogies. Jonathan’s entrance in the profession coincided with critical cultural moments that adhered to his scholastic goals: Harriet Malinowitz’s 1995 publication of Textual Orientations, the visibility of computers and composition as a recognized research field, and a pedagogical orientation toward the “social turn.” As a teacher and administrator, Jonathan frequently questions and assesses—and must account for—composition's objects of study. He asks that as a field we continue asking the very question of what constitutes writing, and he calls for researchers to re-examine histories of actual composing practices. In his published work, both print texts and conference presentations, he experiments with form and poetic style, and he designs, often collaboratively, textual spaces that make explicit the place and performance of bodies in literate acts, bodies in rhetorical motion."

He began his term as the editor of College Composition and Communication in winter 2015. He is also a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Review of Books.


His books have been nominated for various awards, including the Lambda Literary Award and the Computers and Composition Distinguished Book Award. His book, On Multimodality: New Media in Composition Studies won both the Conference on College Composition and Communication Outstanding Book Award and the Computers and Composition Distinguished Book Award. Techne: Queer Meditations on Writing the Subject won the 2015 Lavender Rhetorics Award for Excellence in Queer Scholarship. Alexander is a three-time recipient of the Ellen Nold Award for Best Article in the field of Computers and Composition Studies.[3] In 2011, he was given the Charles Moran Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Field of Computers and Writing.[4] In 2018, his memoir Creep: A Life, a Theory, an Apology, was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award.


  • Unruly Rhetorics: Protest, Persuasion, and Publics. Co-edited with Susan Jarratt and Nancy Welch. Pittsburgh UP. (November 2018) ISBN 978-0822965565
  • The Routledge Handbook of Digital Writing and Rhetoric. Co-edited with Jacqueline Rhodes. Routledge. (April 2018) ISBN 978-1138671362
  • Creep: A Life, a Theory, an Apology. Punctum Books. (2017). ISBN 978-1947447103
  • Writing Youth: Young Adult Fiction as Literacy Sponsorship. Lexington Books: Rowman & Littlefield (2017). ISBN 1498538428
  • Sexual Rhetorics: Methods, Identities, Publics. Co-edited with Jacqueline Rhodes. Routledge (November 2015). ISBN 1138906875
  • Techne: Queer Meditations on Writing the Self. Co-authored with Jacqueline Rhodes. Computers and Composition Digital Press (September 2015).
  • On Multimodality: New Media in Composition Studies. Co-authored with Jacqueline Rhodes. NCTE/CCCC Studies in Writing & Rhetoric (2014). ISBN 0814134122
  • Understanding Rhetoric: A Graphic Guide to Writing. Co-authored with Elizabeth Losh. Bedford/St. Martin's (2013, 2nd edition 2017). ISBN 031264096X
  • Bisexuality and Queer Theory: Intersections, Connections and Challenges. Co-edited with Serena Anderlini D'Onofrio. Routledge (2012). ISBN 1138817422
  • Finding Out: An Introduction to LGBT Studies. Co-authored with Deborah T. Meem and Michelle Gibson. Sage Publications (2009, 2nd edition 2013, 3rd edition 2017). ISBN 1452235287
  • Literacy, Sexuality, Pedagogy: Theory and Practice for Composition Studies. Utah State University Press (2008). ISBN 0874217016
  • Digital Youth: Emerging Literacies on the World Wide Web. Hampton Press (2005). ISBN 157273650X
  • Role Play: Distance Learning and the Teaching of Writing. Co-edited with Marcia Dickson. Hampton Press (2005) ISBN 1572736593
  • Argument Now, a Brief Rhetoric. Co-authored with Margaret Barber. Pearson/Longman (2005) ISBN 0321113608
  • Bisexuality and Transgenderism: InterSEXions of the Others. Co-edited with Karen Yescavage. Routledge (2005). ISBN 1560232870