Nathan Shepley

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Assistant Professor

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Nathan Shepley teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in Rhetoric, Composition, and Pedagogy. His specialization areas include composition history and pedagogy, place-conscious and ecological theories of writing, and postmodern rhetorical theory, especially as influenced by neosophism. His current research project is a study of composition’s local public work from the disciplinary vantage points of sociology and anthropology.

As Chair of the 4 Cs 2016 Subcommittee on Information, Hospitality, and Special Events, he is working with a team of dedicated volunteers to publicize the Houston area for a large scholarly community.

His book, Placing the History of College Writing: Stories from the Incomplete Archive, is forthcoming in the Perspectives on Writing series published by Parlor Press and the WAC Clearinghouse. Using First Sophistic ideas to analyze composition history at a rural university and an urban university, it argues that pre-1950s college student writing, even if appearing formulaic at a glance, did spatially and rhetorically complex work capable of influencing how composition scholars and teachers see student writing today. The book then provides tools to help composition scholars and teachers discern multiple contextual dimensions of student writing at various higher education institutions. Also forthcoming is a chapter that he wrote for Re-Reading Appalachia: Literacy, Place, and Cultural Resistance, edited by Sara Webb-Sunderhaus and Kim Donehower (University Press of Kentucky). His scholarly articles have appeared in Open Words: Access and English Studies, Composition Forum, Enculturation, and Composition Studies. Before focusing on research, he worked as an editorial assistant for IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, which kindled his additional interest in professional writing. In general, whether focusing on composition history, pedagogy, or both, his research is informed by the question of where writing occurs—and by theories and research that complicate the where question from physical, social, or discursive angles. Increasingly, he is interested in how the concept of local assumes multiple meanings for culturally and geographically diverse student writers.

Among his other roles at the University of Houston, Dr. Shepley is Faculty Advisor of the Rhetoric, Composition, and Pedagogy Colloquium (RCPC), a registered graduate student organization. In Fall 2015, he will supervise the Department of English’s TA Supervisors. In recent years, he directed the Department’s annual December teaching conference.


  • Ph.D., Rhetoric and Composition, Ohio University
  • M.A., English, University of Alabama
  • B.A., English, Berry College

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Research Interests

Composition History and Historiography, Place-Conscious and Ecological Theories of Writing, Composition Pedagogy, Neosophistic Rhetorical Theory

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  • ENGL 1303: First-Year Writing I (hybrid version)
  • ENGL 1304: First-Year Writing II
  • ENGL 3341: Business and Professional Writing (hybrid and traditional versions)
  • ENGL 3396: Selected Topics: Gender and Writing
  • ENGL 6300: Seminar in College Teaching of Language and Literature in English
  • ENGL 7370: History of Rhetoric (twentieth-century version)
  • ENGL 7396: History of Composition
  • ENGL 8395: Selected Topics in Rhetoric and Composition: Places of Composition
  • Supervision of Teaching Fellows


  • National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
  • Rhetoric Society of America (RSA)
  • Modern Language Association (MLA)

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