photo of Amanda Paxton

Amanda Paxton

Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream
Institute for the Study of University Pedagogy

Amanda holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from York University, and her research and teaching are founded on the study of language as both an aesthetic instrument and a political tool. From 2014 to 2022 she designed and taught writing courses at Trent University’s Durham campus and literature courses on topics like the Gothic, Queer Lit, and Mysticism; her pedagogical approach centres on the study of language at the level of the word, as an instrument not only to communicate content, but also to elicit imaginative responses in the reader and effect social change. She has published scholarly articles on nineteenth-century literature and an academic monograph on sexuality and religious discourse in Victorian poetry.

Amanda's teaching is founded on empathy and inclusivity. Cultivating safe and supportive class dynamics shapes her pedagogical method; stereotypes of solitary geniuses notwithstanding, she believes that good writing comes out of relationships, conversations, and personal exchanges. In 2017, she received the Teaching Excellence Award from the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance.

Amanda's current research centres on Critical Pedagogy: specifically, examining the effects of learning about the history of Standard English and prescriptivist grammar on student self-perception. Her research focuses on the ways that learning the skills of Standard English grammar while applying critical analysis to the historical and political implications of those skills informs students’ perceptions of themselves as writers. A second ongoing project draws on her work in the Open Learning Digital Fluency Fellowship program, part of an eCampus Ontario Digital Fluency grant that focuses on humanizing online learning. This study examines methods of inviting vulnerability into online writing instruction as a means of overcoming anxieties and shame.

In her leisure time, Amanda enjoys feasting, revelry, and reading quietly (though not usually at the same time).

Ph.D. (English Literature, York University)
M.A. (English Literature, York University)
H.B.A. (English Literature and Religious Studies, University of Toronto)


Current Courses
ISP100 Writing for University and Beyond