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 an Associate Professor at St. John’s University’s Institute for Writing Studies. She teaches a first year writing course titled “Race, Language, and Writing.” She studies the intersections among American literature, education, race, and culture in nineteenth-century and contemporary contexts. Two of her essays explore antebellum literary representations of children's sentimental educations through a focus on race: “‘So Wicked': Revisiting Uncle Tom's Cabin's Sentimental Racism through the Lens of the Child," (published in the volume The Children’s Table: Childhood Studies and the Humanities, University of Georgia Press, 2013) and “Misreading The Scarlet Letter: Race, Sentimental Pedagogy, and Antebellum Indian Literacy” (Studies in American Fiction Spring 2015). Her essay, “‘Whiteboys’: Autoethnography, Internalized Racism, and Composition at the University’s Gateway" (forthcoming in the volume Anti-Racist Activism: Teaching Rhetoric and Writing, WAC Clearinghouse and Parlor Press) comes from her research into the racial dynamics of language in her university students' writing. Her current project looks at her students' use of writing to increase their cultural competence in diverse classrooms.

English 1000c course themes taught:

Think Globally, Write Locally: Writing “American” Stories

Writing Identity, Writing Community

Personal Experience and Public Writing in Schools and Other Institutions

Race, Language, and Writing

Book Chapters

"'Whiteboys' : Autoethnography, Internalized Rasicm, and Composition at the University's Gateway." Anti-Racist Activism: Teaching Rhetoric and Writing. Eds. Frankie Condon and Vershawn Ashanti Young. Forthcoming from WAC Clearinghouse (ebook) and Parlor Press (print).

"'So Wicked': Revisiting Uncle Tom's Cabin's Sentimental Racism through the Lens of the Child." The Children's Table: Childhood Studies and the Humanities. Ed. Anna Mae Duane. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2013.


"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).

"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.

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

"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 Gradate 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.