Kate Vieira

Kate Vieira
Associate Professor; Faculty Affiliate in Second Language Acquisition; Faculty Affiliate in Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies
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Transnational migration, the social history of literacy, ethnographic research methodologies, multilingual writing, writing and peace, writing and the body, Latinx studies, Latin American studies
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My first book, American by Paper: How Documents Matter in Immigrant Literacy (University of Minnesota Press, 2016), is an ethnography of documented and undocumented immigrants that shows how immigration papers mediate immigrants’ access to the American Dream. It won an honorable mention in the 2017 National Council of Teachers of English/College Composition and Communication Outstanding Book Award Competition. 

I have also finished a second book manuscript, Writing for Love and Money: How Migration Drives Literacy Learning In Transnational Families. Based on field research with transnational families in Latin America, Eastern Europe, and North America, Writing for Love and Money shows how families separated across borders turn to writing to sustain meaningful relationships across distance and to better their often impoverished circumstances. It argues that migration promotes literacy learning in transnational families as people write to reach the two life goals that globalization consistently threatens: economic solvency and intimacy. Research for this book has been funded by the Vilas Associates Award, the U.S. Department of Education, the Spencer Foundation, and a Spencer/National Academy of Education Postdoctoral Fellowship (2015-2016). 

I am currently researching how writing can help people and societies recover from emotional and physical trauma. This project has multiple field sites in community organizations in the U.S. and abroad, and has received initial funding from the National Council of Teachers of English Chair’s Research Initiative. 

My work on literacy and immigration has appeared in College English, Research in the Teaching of English, Written Communication, Literacy in Composition Studies, and Composition Studies, and is forthcoming in College Composition and Communication and Anthropology and Education Quarterly. My 2011 article on undocumented immigrants won the John R. Hayes award for excellence in writing studies, and will be anthologized in the forthcoming Literacies: A Critical Sourcebook. And my 2014 article on the materiality of literacy in Literacy in Composition Studies has been reprinted in the Best of Independent Journals in Composition and Rhetoric (2016). 

A former elementary school ESL teacher and Peace Corps Volunteer, I care deeply that my research promotes educational equity and international understanding. I conduct research in Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and English. 


I design both graduate and undergraduate courses with one central goal: for students to develop a deep understanding of how writing works in the world. 

Undergraduate classes include: 

  • Writing and Money (English 204) - Course Trailer 
  • Why is Writing Hard? (English 236) 
  • Fast Writing in Fast Times (English 201) 
  • Introduction to Composition and Rhetoric (English 304) 
Graduate courses include:

  • Writing, Healing, and the Body (English 706) 
  • Writing and the Global Movement of People (English 706) 
  • The Consequences of Literacy (English 702) 
  • Qualitative Methods in Writing Studies (English 703) 
  • Introduction to Composition and Rhetoric (English 700)