Memories of the Future: Literacy Lives and the Nostalgia of Teaching English

Publication Date


Document Type


Publication Title

American Educational Research Association (AERA) 2018 Annual Meeting

Conference Location

New York, NY


This qualitative study seeks to understand roles teachers’ literacy lives play in shaping their teaching of reading and writing. We analyze our own literacy lives and those of 63 preservice teachers across four undergraduate courses and one graduate-level internship-year course. We build upon understandings of nostalgia in literacy research and curriculum studies to examine social-and-cultural practices of literacy teaching and learning. We found that roles literacy teachers’ reading lives play in shaping the teaching of literacy is profoundly nostalgic work. We offer both dangers and affordances for understanding what exactly we try to do as teachers of literacy, and how we might imagine more equitable and humane futures for our students.


English and Comparative Literature