The Center for Writing Studies

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Center Graduate Students: Julia Marie Smith

Julia Smith

Julia Smith is a Ph.D. candidate in the Center for Writing Studies in the English Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Contact Information

208 English Building | MC-718

Biographical Statement

Smith completed a MA in Rhetoric and Composition at Florida State University. The thesis was entitled “Fortify the City with Your Tempered Pen: “Building Agency in the “City of Ladies” through Text, Paratext, and Media.” This thesis discussed how a medieval woman author, Christine de Pizan, created her rhetorical agency through the layers of her manuscript from text, image, and the medium of the manuscript. She also attended St. Andrews University in Scotland, where she earned a Graduate Diploma in Medieval Literature. For her undergraduate degree, she graduated from Texas State University with a BA in English Literature and a minor in Spanish.

Research Interests

History of Rhetoric, Medieval Rhetoric, Women in the History of Rhetoric, History of Text Technologies, Historiography, Rhetorical Agency, Medieval Literature (gender studies), Activity Theory, New Media Studies.

Courses Taught

Writing 303/Informatics 303: Writing Across Media

English 482: Writing Technologies

Business and Technical Writing 271: Persuasive Writing

Business and Technical Writing 250: Principles of Business Communication

English 209: British Literature to 1798


Textual and Visual Building Blocks: Agency and Social Responsibility in Christine de Pizan's "The City of Ladies." In The Responsibilities of Rhetoric. Michelle Smith and Barbara Warnick (eds.) Rhetoric Society of America, Waveland Press Inc., 2010.

Conference Presentations

“Ventriloquizing (No)body: A Gay Girl in Damascus.” Feminism(s) and Rhetoric(s), Stanford, California, September 2013.

“Preach with their Hands: Assessing the Evidence of Enclosed Preacher-Scribes.” International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, Michigan, May 2013.

“Medieval Monastic Scribes and Ars Praedicandi: Re/Framing How We Identify the Rhetor.” Rhetoric Society of America, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May 2012.

“Rhetorical MashUP: Technology, Multivocality, and Rhetorical Chorus.” Center for Writing Studies Colloquium Series, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, May 2012. Invited.

“Manuscript, Mystic, Amanuensis: The Interlocking Fe/Male Spheres of Margery Kempe in the Composition of her Manuscript.” Feminism(s) and Rhetoric (s), Mankato, Minnesota, October 2011.

“Communal Construction: Christine de Pizan and her Rhetorical Agency.” Feminism(s) and Rhetoric(s), East Lansing, Michigan, October 2009.

“The Activity of Finding Rhetorical Agency in a Postmodern Classroom.” CCCC, San Francisco, California, 2009.

“Textual and Visual Building Blocks: Agency and Social Responsibility in Christine de Pizan’s Illuminated Manuscript Harley 4431.” Rhetoric Society of America, Seattle, Washington, May 2008.