Tamara Issak

Associate Professor
Ph.D. Syracuse University, Composition and Cultural Rhetoric, 2018M.A. Rutgers University-Newark, English, 2011B.A. William Paterson University, English; Secondary Education, 2008

Tamara Issak is an Assistant Professor in the Institute for Core Studies - First Year Writing and Writing Across Communities Faculty-in-Residence. She studies constitutive rhetorics, geographic rhetorics, and community literacy initiatives. She is currently working on a book focused on Islamophobic rhetoric in New York City in the aftermath of 9/11. Issak is the recipient of several national fellowships and awards including an American Association of University Women Fellowship 2017-2018 and a Fulbright Fellowship to Syria 2008-2009. 

Before starting at St. John's University, she taught at Syracuse University, Rutgers University-Newark, Concordia University-Chicago, Triton Community College, and DePaul University. Born and raised in New Jersey, she has been an active member of various community organizations in the New York/New Jersey area. In the past, she was a contributing radio producer and host of Tahrir: Voices of the Arab and Muslim Community which aired on Pacifica's WBAI 99.5 FM, and she was a co-producer of the disciplinary podcast, This Rhetorical Life. For more information about her research and teaching, please visit tamaraissak.me​


Literacy and Social Change

Writing and Your Career


    "How Does It Feel to be a Problem at the 9/11 Museum?" Writing Democracy: The Political Turn in and Beyond the Trump Era. Eds. Shannon Carter, Deborah Mutnick, Stephen Parks, and Jessica Pauszek. Routledge, 2019. 

    The Best of the Independent Rhetoric and Composition Journals, 2014. Co-edited with Steve  Parks, James Seitz, Jessica Pauszek, Heather Christiansen, and Brian Bailie. Parlor Press, 2016. 

    “Thinking Collectively about Academic Labor.” With Ben Kuebrich, Karrieann Soto, Allison Hitt, and Jana Rosinski. Present Tense 3.2 (2014).

    Revolution By Love: Emerging Arab Youth Voices. Co-edited with Lindsey Banister and Theresa Keicher. New City Community Press. 2012.

    “Plugging into i-Culture: Shuffling Canonical Literature for Social Justice and Culturally Relevant Teaching in the 21st Century Secondary English Classroom.” With Darlene Russell and Philip Seyfried. Virginia English Bulletin, Spring-Summer 2009 Issue.


    Conference Presentations

    “Living the ‘Work’: Being Accountable to Communities Within and Beyond the Institution.” Roundtable Discussion. Conference on Community Writing. Philadelphia, PA. October 2019. 

     “Where are all the Arabs?: Organizing Arab/Arab American College Students.” Writing Education Across Borders Conference. Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA. September 2019. 

    “Disrupting a Hegemonic Narrative of Tragedy: An Arab/Muslim Identity Performance in the 9/11Memorial Museum.” Conference on College Composition and Communication. Pittsburgh, PA. March 2019.

    “Organizing Muslim Women: The Affordances and Limitations of Interventions.” Cultural Rhetorics Conference. East Lansing, MI. November 2018. 

    “Muslim Women Write Back.” Conference on College Composition and Communication. Kansas City, MO. March 2018.

    “All Our Relations: Teaching Social Justice Movements.” Workshop Co-Presenter. Conference on College Composition and Communication. Kansas City, MO. March 2018.

    “Learning Together: Gathering Resources and Building Critical Mass for Feminist Community Writing.” Seminar Co-Presenter. Feminisms and Rhetorics Conference. Dayton, OH. October 2017.

    “Gitmo, The Muslim Male, and Torture: A Transnational Feminist Reading.” Conference on College Composition and Communication. Tampa, FL. March 2015.

    “Muslim, Arab, and Your Writing Teacher: Responding to Racism in the Classroom.” New Jersey College English Association Conference. Seton Hall University. South Orange, NJ. March 2015.

    “Narrations of the Arab Spring—Challenges in Community Engagement and Service Learning.”  New Jersey College English Association Conference. Seton Hall University. South Orange, NJ. April 2014.

    “Park51 and Transnational Feminism.” Feminist Workshop at the Conference on College Composition and Communication. Indianapolis, IN. March 2014.

    “What’s Terrorism Got to Do With It?” Composition and Cultural Rhetoric Symposium. Syracuse University. Syracuse, NY. October 2013.

    “Sowing in the Secondary English Classroom: Using Literature to Teach Social Justice, Equity, and Empowerment.” Equity and Social Justice in Education Conference. Stockton College. Galloway, NJ. March 2008.

    Invited Presentations

    “Writing about Muslim Women in New York City.” Composition and Cultural Rhetoric Feminist Rhetorics Symposium. Syracuse University. Syracuse, NY. October 2018.

    “Women in Higher Education: Confronting Challenges and Navigating Successfully.” Summit  College Club Chapter of American Association of University Women. Summit, NJ. June 2018. 

     “Empowering Muslim Women Through Storytelling.” United Nations Commission on the Status of Women: 60th Session. United Nations. New York, NY. March 2016.

    “Arab/Muslim/Female: Reflections on Bayoumi’s How Does it Feel to be a Problem?” Rutgers University. Newark, NJ. November 2011.

    “Circassian Nationalism in Syria Pre-1967: Amin Samkough in the Golan Heights.” Middle Eastern Arts and Culture in the U.S. Conference. William Paterson University. Wayne, NJ. March 2010.