Sophie R. Bell

Ph.D., 2008, Tufts University, EnglishM.Ed. in Teaching of English, 1994, Harvard University Graduate School of EducationBA, 1991, Wesleyan University, History

Sophie Bell is a Professor at St. John’s University’s Institute for Core Studies. She studies rhetoric and composition, culturally sustaining pedagogies, literacy and education, American literatures, and race, ethnicity, and culture. Her first-year-writing classes focus on writing’s potential to build connections across social differences. Her 2021 book, Mapping Racial Literacies: College Students Write about Race and Segregation, explores how her students’ writing contributes to and reshapes contemporary understandings of how US and global citizens are thinking about race. She has published articles in Composition Forum, Journal of College Literacy and Learning, Studies in American Fiction, and Radical Teacher. She is active in faculty collaborations for equity-focused professional development. Finally, she is on the faculty advisory board for the new St. John’s online journal, Intersections: A Journal of First Year Writing.

English 1000c courses taught:

Writing Across Difference: Race, Language, and Digital Composition

Personal Experience and Public Writing in Schools and Other Institutions

Think Globally, Write Locally: Writing “American” Stories

Writing Identity, Writing Community


Mapping Racial Literacies: College Students Write About Race and Segregation. Utah State University Press, 2021.

Chapters in Edited Volumes

"'Whiteboys' : Autoethnography, Internalized Racism, and Composition at the University's Gateway." Performing Antiracist Pedagogy in Rhetoric, Writing, and Communication, Eds. Frankie Condon and Vershawn Ashanti Young. WAC Clearinghouse (ebook) and Parlor Press (print), 2016.

"'So Wicked': Revisiting Uncle Tom's Cabin's Sentimental Racism through the Lens of the Child." `. Ed. Anna Mae Duane. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2013.


“‘Your Grammar is All Over the Place’: Translingual Close Reading, Anti-Blackness, and Racial Literacy among Multilingual Student Writers in First Year Writing." Forthcoming in Composition Forum, November 2021.​  

Co-authored with M. Amanda Moulder, “Collaborative Co-Mentoring: Building Horizontal Alliances through Faculty Development." Journal of College Literacy and Learning. 45 (2019).

"Misreading The Scarlet Letter: Race, Sentimental Pedagogy, and Antebellum Indian Literacy," Studies in American Fiction. 42.1 (Spring 2015).

"Dangerous Morals: Hollywood Puts a Happy Face on Urban Education." The Media on Education. Radical Teacher 54 (Fall 1997).


Review of High Schools, Race, and America’s Future:What Students Can Teach Us about Morality, Diversity, and Community, Lawrence Blum. Radical Teacher 101 (2015).

Review of "New York and Slavery: Time to Teach the Truth." by Alan J. Singer. Teachers College Record, January 2010.

Edited journal issues and authored introductions

Co-Editor, Race in the Classroom. Radical Teacher 70 (Fall 2004). Introduction.

Co-Editor, Teacher Education and Social Justice. Radical Teacher 64 (Fall 2002) and 65 (Spring 2003).

Co-Editor, Beyond Identity Politics: Teaching and Social Difference. Radical Teacher 58 (spring 1999). Introduction co-authored with Joseph Entin.

“​Mapping Racial Counter-Geographies: Critical Agency in First Year Writing,”​ NYU 2020 Symposium, ReVision and ReForm, held on Zoom, October 2020.

“‘Your Grammar is All Over the Place’: Translingualism and Intersectionality in First Year Writing," Conference on College Composition and Communication. Pittsburgh, PA. March 2019.

“‘Your Grammar is All Over the Place’: Translingualism and Racial Literacy For Post-‘Language Rights’ Multilingual Student Writers,” Cultural Rhetorics. Lansing, MI. November 2018.

“Collaboration as Welcome Faculty Development,” Conference on College Composition and Communication. Kansas City, MO. March 2018.

“From Brown v. Board to Michael Brown: Resegregation and Rhetoric at the University’s Gateway,” Cultural Rhetorics. Lansing, MI. September 2016.

“Writing Against Racism and Stereotypes.” Conference on College Composition and Communication. Houston, TX. April 2015.

“Love, Redlining, and Peer Review” at the New York Metropolitan Area American Studies Conference in November, 2015. Paper presenter.

"Open Season: Racial Identity Narratives in a Composition Classroom." Conference on College Composition and Communication. Indianapolis, IN. March 2014.

“College Students Narrate, Research, and Analyze the Student Debt Crisis.” Roundtable: Mutual Indebtedness: Childhood and Other American Studies. American Studies Association Annual Meeting. Washington, DC. November 2013.

“Narrating Racial Identity Development.” NCTE’s Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning. Estes Park, CO. June 2013.

“What Does 'The Personal is Political' Mean in a Writing Classroom?: Searching for a Qualitative Methodology.” Qualitative Methods Research Roundtable, Conference on College Composition and Communication. Las Vegas, NV March 2013. Co-presented with Amanda Moulder.

“‘Ripping the Veil’: Toni Morrison’s Beloved Remembers Slavery.” New York Metropolitan American Studies Association, New York, NY November 2011.

“Remixed Literacies: Memoir + I-Search = Me-Search?” Conference on College Composition and Communication. Louisville, KY March 2010. Co-presented with Kathryn Shaughnessy.

“Becoming Your Own Informant: Autoethnographic Writing in Composition Studies.” Ethnography in Education Research Forum. University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, Philadelphia, PA February 2010.

“‘No One Cares for Me Only to Get My Work’: Child Labor, Mischief, and Sympathy in Harriet Wilson’s Our Nig.” Modern Language Association Convention, San Francisco, CA December 2008.

“Infanticide and the Politics of Mourning in James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans.” American Literature Association, Cambridge, MA  May 2005.

“Affect, Excess, and Anxiety in Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s ‘The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim’s Point.’”  The Influence of Anxiety, Tufts University Graduate Student Conference, Medford, MA October 2003.


“Why Is There a Cowboy on the Cover of Chang-rae Lee’s Native Speaker?.” American Literature Association, Cambridge, MA  May 2003.