Paul Beilstein is a PhD candidate in the department of English and the Center for Writing Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
I was born in Springfield, Illinois. As an undergraduate at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, I stopped aspiring to be a filmmaker. At around the same time, I was encouraged to pursue poetry writing. I transferred to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where I earned a BA in Rhetoric. Then, I completed an MFA in English at the University of California, Irvine, where I also taught composition and poetry. I then moved to Portland, Oregon, where I taught composition at Portland Community College, Rock Creek. Currently, I am pursuing a PhD in the English Department and the Center for Writing Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Composition pedagogy; basic writing; literacy studies; language ideology; critical race theory; historiography
My time as a first-year writing instructor motivated an enduring interest in the disparities between how I perceive the students I encounter in the classroom and the representations of students and their writing in disciplinary, institutional, and public discourses. My dissertation, tentatively titled "Basic Writing without Basic Writers," explores historical representations of student writing at Illinois and offers an ethnographic perspective of recent student-writers which counters the deficit discourse that is embedded in the institutional and disciplinary mindsets.