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Alison Caviness Gibson, Ph.D.

Senior Lecturer of English

On Faculty since 2010
630.752.5781
Blanchard 308


Dr. Gibson's primary interests include best practices for teaching First-Year Writing, Writing Center administration, theater, American literature, the literature of the U.S. South, and faculty development. As a graduate of a liberal arts college, she knows first-hand the value of a liberal arts education, and she is passionate about general education literature and writing.

University of Virginia
Ph.D., 2011

University of Virginia
M.A., 2005

Wofford College
B.A. Summa Cum Laude, 2003

  • Writing Center Administration
  • Writing Pedagogy
  • Drama
  • American Literature
  • Southern U.S. Literature
  • International Writing Centers Association: member
  • Midwest Writing Centers Association: member
  • National Council of Teachers of English ( and the CCCC) : member
  • Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education : member
  • National Women’s Studies Association : member
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald Society : member
  • Society for the Study of Southern Literature : member
  • Modern Language Association : member

Beyond Consumerist Education: Gift Exchange and Hospitable Writing Pedagogy
presented at the Kuyers Institute conference on "Faith and Teaching: Virtue, Practice, and Imagination", Calvin College, October 2015

The Southern Flapper: White Southern Womanhood in The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald Society Conference, Montgomery, AB

White Southern Femininity in A Streetcar Named Desire
Gender, Place and Space: An Interdisciplinary Conference, University of Notre Dame

‘There’s Something in that Voice of Hers’: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Gendering of the U.S. South in His Great American Novel
Thesis Presentation before the Department of English, University of Virginia

Beyond the Belle’s Borders: Fitzgerald’s Americanization of White Southern Femininity in The Great Gatsby
American Literature Association Annual Conference, San Francisco, CA

Southern Womanhood in Fried Green Tomatoes
presented at the Popular Culture Association / American Culture Association annual conference, Boston, MA

Teaching Philosophy

In the twenty-first century, it is all too easy to acquire an education in isolation: to read books alone, to watch lectures online alone, to conduct research alone. Even at a liberal arts college, it is entirely possible for a student to write a brilliant research paper, submit it to a professor, receive it back with a glowing grade, and then never speak of it again. My pedagogical model is designed to break this insular cycle, to show students the rich benefits of learning through conversation—with literary texts, each other, and me—and sharing their knowledge with others. Communal learning is not just about group projects; it is about teaching students how to productively agree and disagree, question one another’s views, and learn from each other.

Courses Taught

  • ENGL 101: Classics of Western Literature
  • ENGW 103: Composition and Research
  • ENGL 105: Modern Global Literature
  • ENGL 112: Comedy and Tragedy: Shakespeare and Beyond
  • ENGL 343: American Literature: Modernism and Beyond

My scholarship in writing pedagogy focuses on best practices for grading student writing and teaching genre analysis. Recently, I’ve been collaborating with my colleagues on a project entitled “Hospitality of Composition: Creating Habitable Sites for Writing on Campus.” My work considers how practices of Christian hospitality can be incorporated into First-Year Writing courses.

Hamilton Basso, The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, Volume 9: Literature. Ed. M. Thomas Inge., Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008
A prominent journalist and novelist from the 1920s through the 1960s, Hamilton Basso contributed to the liberal and realistic traditions of the Southern Literary Renaissance, in contrast with the conservative, Gothic, and modernist tendencies of many of the age’s other authors. Unlike the southern “traditionalists” who idealized the plantation and aristocratic traditions of the antebellum South, Basso and the other “realists” rejected the southern past in favor of a more veritable new South. Through his novels and newspaper articles, Basso sought to represent the region accurately by addressing the problems of the southern middle class from a realistic, ethical, and...
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