Director of Learning, Development and Student Success; Associate Teaching Professor in English

Dr. Melissa Pearson is an Associate Teaching Professor in the Writing Program. For more than 20 years, Pearson’s research and teaching has been grounded in Racial Literacy and Concepts of Social Justice, and in African American, primarily Black Feminist Rhetoric. She also holds a part-time position in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Her philosophy on social justice education: The pursuit of social justice and anti-racist living means confronting all of the evidence of inequality, even when it challenges one’s own identity and ideology. Thus, my approach to anti-racist pedagogy begins with concepts of positionality and socialization because one’s gender, race, class and cultural experiences matter and contributes significantly to their worldview. It is often easier to sympathize with someone’s oppression from an observational point of view; but when students (people) learn that through socialization we “learn” racist attitudes and behaviors whether we are aware of it or not. Also, as much as institutions such as government, media, schooling, religion and family structure dictate much of what we come to understand about race and difference, it is through public discourse such as advertisements, film, social media, etc. that stereotypes and justifications for racial oppression are reinforced. In my course, we spend time understanding concepts of oppression (sexism, racism, classicism), white privilege, and white supremacy, through the theoretical lens of Cultural Violence (Johann Galtung) and deep rhetorical analysis of public/popular discourse.

Contact Information