The Center for Writing Studies

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Robert Dale Parker

Robert Parker

Robert Dale Parker is the James M. Benson Professor in English. He is also affiliated with the American Indian Studies Program, the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory, and the Center for Writing Studies.

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329 English Building | MC-718



Professor Parker's books are Faulkner and the Novelistic Imagination, The Unbeliever: The Poetry of Elizabeth Bishop, "Absalom, Absalom!": The Questioning of Fictions, and, in recent years, The Invention of Native American LiteratureThe Sound the Stars Make Rushing Through the Sky: The Writings of Jane Johnston SchoolcraftChanging Is Not Vanishing: A Collection of American Indian Poetry to 1930, How to Interpret Literature: Critical Theory for Literary and Cultural Studies, and Critical Theory: A Reader for Literary and Cultural StudiesThe Invention includes a theoretical discussion of the practice of transcribing oral narratives into written literary texts, and The Sound the Stars Make includes an extended discussion of editorial theory, a topic that can hold considerable interest for scholars and students of writing studies. Changing Is Not Vanishing recovers early American Indian poetry, up to 1930, based on archival research uncovering many forgotten writers, partly with the goal of changing the underestimation of American Indian literacy. How to Interpret Literature and Critical Theory address scholars and students who want to review or extend their familiarity with recent ideas and controversies in critical theory.


Professor Parker’s graduate-level surveys in contemporary critical theory have often enrolled students from the Program in Writing Studies. He teaches a wide variety of courses in American literature and critical theory for undergraduate and graduate students.


At the University of Illinois, Professor Parker has been a University Scholar, and he is the recipient of the Arnold O. Beckman award for special distinction in research, the Harriet and Charles Luckman Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching, the William F. Prokasy Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching, the Graduate College Award for Outstanding Mentoring of Graduate Students, and the Robert Schneider Award for outstanding teaching and service in the Department of English.