Faculty & Staff

Nathan Phillips, PhD

Assistant Professor

I am interested in the geographies of literacy and learning--particularly youth learning. I study young people's spatial literacies and media literacies in and out of school, across virtual and physical landscapes, and among multiple media. I am particularly interested in these literacies and mobilities as they relate to the possibilities for young people to actively and critically participate in civic processes that have an impact on their lives now and in the future.

I am currently designing instruction and research for classrooms where young people interpret and produce thematic maps and map-body performances for making arguments. I am also currently investigating the multimodal nature and design of young people's publicly distributed media production processes and products. Other recent research has included investigating practices of spatial analysis and modeling by professional work groups and identifying principles of this practice that can be taught in formal and informal instructional settings with young people.

Before coming to UIC, I taught high school English, journalism, creative writing, and film. I currently teach courses in disciplinary literacy for preservice secondary school teachers.

You can follow me on Twitter, at Academia.edu, and at Maps are Arguments.


2013 - PhD, Vanderbilt University, Learning, Teaching, and Diversity

2007 - MA, Brigham Young University, English

2002 - BA, Brigham Young University, English Teaching

Research & Teaching Interests

Dr. Phillips' research interests include adolescent literacies; learning across contexts; new/digital literacies; connections among geography, literacy and learning; youth media; multimodality; young adult literature; English education; and qualitative methods.

Selected Publications

Phillips, N. C., & Smith, B. E. (2012). Multimodality and aurality: Sound spaces in student digital book trailers. In P. J. Dunston, S. K. Fullerton, C. C. Bates, K. Headley, & P. M. Stecker (Eds.), 61st Yearbook of the Literacy Research Association (pp. 84-99). Oak Creek, WI: Literacy Research Association. [Student Outstanding Research Award]

Alvey, T. L., Phillips, N. C., Bigelow, E. C., Smith, B. E., Pfaff, E., Colt, W., Leander, K. M., Dalton, B., & Ma, J. Y. (2011). From I-Search to iSearch 2.0. English Teaching: Practice and Critique, 10(4), 139-148.

Leander, K. M., Phillips, N. C., & Headrick Taylor, K. (2010). The changing social spaces of learning: Mapping new mobilities. Review of Research in Education, 34(1), 329-394.