skip to navigation skip to content
For Students, Faculty, and Staff: MyU One Stop

K.C. Harrison

Senior Lecturer
Ph.D. English, Yale University (2010)
B.A. English, New York University (2003)

School of Social Work
1404 Gortner Ave
173 Peters Hall

Tel: 612-626-8631

Areas of Interest

U.S. and Global Literature, Social Justice, Immigration, Prison Literature, Race & Anti-Racism

What motivates me in my work?

I've always been intensely curious about how the world works and what it looks like through others' eyes. I read stories because they satisfy and stoke this desire. Increasingly, I believe that stories have a fundamental role to play in seeking justice. Once you hear someone's story, how can you fail to acknowledge their right to exist on this planet with the means to realize their human potential?

What can students expect from me?

I believe in students' inherent capacity to grow and change as scholars and as people. I'm excited to assist you on this journey by providing challenges along with the tools to succeed. I ask you to open your mind to engage with texts in new ways, step out of your comfort zones, and become empathetic and creative citizens of the world.


Teaching Philosophy

It is important to me that students experience their time at university not as a waiting period before "real life" begins, but as an opportunity to engage in academic, social, and civic communities.

Stories are not "add ons"--entertainment or embellishment to the serious business of living. We use stories every day to understand ourselves and our world. It is imperative, therefore, to equip ourselves with the tools to analyze how stories are constructed: what words produce particular effects, what techniques manipulate or move us.

In my classes students actively participate in group discussions, classroom leadership, and activities that engage diverse skill sets. We take on subjects that may at first be difficult to discuss, such as how race, class, and gender affect our experiences and interpretations.

As much as possible, I try to bring my experience as a community member into the classroom. I have volunteered with the Women's Prison Book Project and led a writing workshop at 180 Degrees. I facilitate Restorative Justice conferences through RJCA, and am currently working with the NAACP Criminal Justice Reform Committee on restoring voting rights for ex-offenders.

I believe with Paulo Freire that no education is politically neutral, and that it is our job as educators to equip future generations to challenge the status quo. I hope that my students bring their own passions to the classroom and feel empowered to create the world they want to see.

Selected Publications

  1. Harrison, K.C. “Why the Federal Investigation of Philando Castile’s Death Will Fail” MinnPost, August 12, 2016, n.p.

  2. Harrison, K.C. and Raj Sethuraju. “Police get community feedback on body cams” Minneapolis Spokesman-Recorder, July 22, 2015, n.p.

  3. Harrison, K.C. and Raj Sethuraju, Bryan Litsey, and Clara Waddell. “Walk in Someone Else’s Shoes,” Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association Journal, Summer 2015, n.p.

  4. "LeRoi Jones’s Radio and the Literary ‘Break’ from Ellison to Burroughs,” African American Review 47.2-3 Summer/Fall 2014. 357-374.

  5. “Highbrow, Lowbrow, No-brow: Women’s Reading Practices and the Vitality of New-Format Fiction,” Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture, Vol. 11, No. 3, 2011.

  6. “Talking Books, Toni Morrison, and the Transformation of Narrative Authority: Two Frameworks,” Audiobooks, Literature, and Sound Studies. Matthew Rubery, editor. New York: Routledge, 2011.

Selected Presentations

  1. "Storytelling as Activism and Healing: The Restorative Writing Workshop,” Conference on Crime and Victimization, Brainerd, MN, May 2015.

  2. “Deepening Student Learning Through Multidisciplinary Assignments in a Learning Community,” The First Year Experience Conference, San Diego, CA, February 2014.

  3. “‘Close Listening’: Using Podcasts in the College Literature Classroom,” American Comparative Literature Association, “A Crisis in Reading?” seminar, Brown University, April 2012.

  4. “Paper Deaths and the Birth of Hybrid Formats: Audiobook, Vook, Kindle, Twitter,” Seminar Organizer, American Comparative Literature Association, New Orleans, March 2010.

  5. “Talking Books, Talking Back,” University of St. Thomas Colloquium Talk, February 2010.

  6. “Breaks, Cuts, and Black Holes: Novelists Confront History’s Silences through Sound,” Modern Language Association, “Media and Conflict” panel, Philadelphia, December 2009.

  7. “Pynchon’s and Reed’s Black (W)holes,” American Comparative Literature Association, “Sounds of Silence” seminar, Harvard University, March 2009.

  8. “Slipping into the Breaks with Ellison and Pynchon,” Modernist Studies Association seminar, “Recording Modernism,” Nashville, November 2008.

  9. “Cybernetic Identities before the Posthuman: ‘Sound’ Minds from Joyce to Burroughs,” Twentieth-Century Colloquium, Yale University, May 2008.

  10. “The Noise of Fiction,” (Dis)junctions Conference, UC-Riverside, April 2008.

  11. “Originality and Sonic Modernity: From Joyce’s Cybernetic to Ellison’s Bebop Aesthetic,” Origins Conference for Graduate Students in the Humanities, University of Pennsylvania, February 2008.