The Center for Writing Studies

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Center Graduate Students: Ryan Ware


Ryan Ware is a PhD candidate in the Center for Writing Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Contact Information

Biographical Statement

I am from Central Maine, and I received my undergraduate degree in Secondary Education with an English concentration from the University of Maine, Orono. I taught high school English for three years, which led to an interest in what writing can do for, and to, students. I returned to the UMaine, Orono for an MA in English, focusing on Composition & Pedagogy. For a special third year of my Master’s work, I was awarded the Ulrich Wicks Fellowship through the English department so that I could continue to teach, mentor first-year TAs of first-year writing, and, most formatively, work more closely with my mentor, Dr. Dylan Dryer, to extend my MA thesis to a year-long, longitudinal study. I defended my thesis, “Contradictory Activity Footings: An Institutional Ethnography of English Teacher Development” in May, 2016. Under the direction of Paul Prior, Kevin Roozen, Lindsay Rose Russell, and Michéle Koven, I am currently working on a dissertation tentatively titled "Pathways of Becoming: Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Thinking Non-Belief."

Research Interests

My theoretical and methodological home in research is dialogic semiotics (Voloshinov, 1973; Prior & Hengst, 2010). Particular, I use cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT) in the broad sense (Prior, 1998; Prior & Shipka, 2003), weaving togehter Vygotskyan psychology (Vygotsky, 1987; Wetsch, 1991; 1998), theories of dialogism (Bakhtin, 1981; Linell, 2009), and the deeply semiotic work of linguistic anthropology (Silverstein, 1993; Agha, 2007; Koven, 2001) as a theoretical and methodological lens to explor pathways through which my co-researchers become non-believers in the super-natural via literate activity, particularly writing and other fundamentally semiotic practices.