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Riki Thompson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Writing Studies & Digital Rhetoric
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English - Language and Rhetoric
University of Washington Seattle
English - Language and Rhetoric
University of Washington Seattle
University of Washington Seattle
Business Administration
University of Washington Seattle


My scholarship examines the intersections of discourse, design, technology, identity, mental health, and interpersonal connectivity. I employ and adapt a variety of theories and methods, such as critical discourse analysis, multimodality/social semiotics, queer linguistics, digital ethnography, narrative analysis, health humanities, and governmentality. 

In the classroom, I engage students through active learning, reflection on learning and integration of new technologies that provide tools to evaluate and employ language effectively. I use a "just in time" approach in all my classes so I can make adjustments based on student needs.

Current Research

My research explores the relationship between self, story, language, literacy, technology and transformation, with an interest in how people gain acceptance into (or are excluded from) communities through know-how of technology, language ideologies and shared understandings about visual representations.

My current research projects focus on digital intimacies and dating apps, nonmonogamy communication and mental health, language change movements around gender and sexuality, social media and linguistic anthropology, and digital discourse research methods.



Thompson, R. (2024). “Beyond the gender binary: Digital dating, discourse, design, & normativity” in S. Maci & M. McGlashan (eds). (Critical) Discourse Studies and the (new) normal: Analyzing discourse in times of crisis, Bern: Peter Lang. 

Thompson, R. (2022). More than the selfie: Online dating, non-monogamy, normativity, and linked profiles on OkCupidJournal of Language and Sexuality. 11 (1). 1-30.

Thompson, R. (2022). “Reflective approaches to analyzing digital discourse.” In C. Vasquez (Ed.), Research Methods for Digital Discourse Analysis. pp. 257-276. Bloomsbury Press. 

Thompson, R. (2021). “Using Social Media as a Source of Data and Community Building.” In T. Paulus and J. Lester (Eds.), Doing Qualitative Research in a Digital World. pp. 55-61. SAGE Publications, Inc. 

Thompson, R. (2020). English Language and Multimodal Narrative. In S. Adolphs & D. Knight (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of English Language and Digital Humanities. pp. 456-471. Routledge.

Thompson, R., & Collins, M. (2020). Disruptive practice: Multimodality, innovation and standardisation from the medieval to the digital text. In C. Tagg & M. Evans (Eds.), Message and medium: English Language Practices Across Old and New Media. pp. 281–305. De Gruyter Mouton.

Thompson, R. & McIlnay, M. (2019) Nobody Wants to Read Anymore! Using a Multimodal Approach to Make Literature EngagingCLELE Journal, 7 (1). 

Thompson, R. & Furman, R., (2018) From mass to social media: Governing mental health in the digital age. Sinchronia. 22(73). 398-429. 

Thompson, R. (2017). Writing through comics. In A. Burger (Ed.), Teaching Graphic Novels in the English Classroom: Pedagogical Possibilities of Multimodal Literacy Engagement. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Thompson, R. (2012). Screwed up, but working on it: (Dis)ordering the self through e-stories. Narrative Inquiry. 22(1), 86-104.

Thompson, R. (2012). Looking healthy: Visualizing disorder & wellness online. Visual Communication. 11(4). 395-420.

Thompson, R., Furman, R., Enterline, M., & Sharfi, N. (2012). Poetry, masculinities & disability. Journal of Poetry Therapy, 25(3).105-114.

Furman, R., Enterline, M., Thompson, R., & Shukraft, A. (2012) Poetry matters: A case study for poetry in social work. Journal of Social Intervention: Theory & Practice 21(1), 5-17.

Thompson, R. & Lee, M. (2012) Talking with students through screencasting: Experimentations with video feedback to improve student learning. Journal of Interactive Technology & Pedagogy 1(1).

Thompson, R. (2006). Bilingual, bicultural & binominal identities: Personal name investment, (bi)cultural identity negotiation & the imagination in the lives of first generation Korean-Americans. Journal of Language, Identity & Education, 5(3), 179-208.




I teach courses on research and argument, as well as special topics in Writing Studies. My classes take an active-learning approach, using learning to learn pedagogy to engage students through multimodal learning styles. If you observe my class, you will see a frenzy of activity; groups collaborating, papers shuffling, tables moving, students talking and writing. A typical day in my classroom includes seminars, small group work, class discussion, writing workshops, and online collaborative writing. 

Below is a list of courses I have taught and some independent study projects I have supervised.

    • TIAS 514 : Teaching Writing: Theory & Practicum
    • TIAS 513 : Graduate Research & Writing
    • TIAS 505 : MAIS Capstone
    • TIAS 501: Models and Critical Inquiry
    • TWRT 464 : Teaching Writing
    • TWRT 440 : Cross Cultural Communication & Design 
    • TWRT 388 : Writing for Social Change 
    • TWRT 330 : Visual & Written Rhetoric
    • TWRT 333: Writing through Comics
    • TWRT 211: Argument & Research in Writing 
      • Focus: Researching digital technology in personal & professional contexts 
    • TCORE 101: Introduction to Composition 
      • Focus: Researching our personal relationship to digital technology in the everyday  
    • TWRT 120/121: Academic Writing 1 & 2: Stretch
    • TWRT 112 : Introduction to Academic Writing
    • TWRT 111 : Discourse Foundations
      • Graduate Writing Studio – Institute of Technology
    • Polyamory and New Relationship Energy
    • Human-Centered Designing with Polyamory
    • 'Inhabiting the Habitus': Identity, Belonging, and Becoming in the Narratives of Mature Women Returners at the University of Washington Tacoma
    • Inclusive Language in STEM Grant Proposals
    • Critical Discourse Studies
    • The Visual Rhetoric of the Border Wall
    • Special Education Legislation And Teaching Writing
    • Teaching Writing K-12
    • Porn, Power, & Discourse
    • Hip Hop Poetry & Teaching Writing
    • The Discourse of Mental Health And The Productive Member Of Society
    • A Critical Analysis of Homeless Discourse In America


Honors and Awards


  • 2024 SIAS Mini-Grant: Digital Discourse & Design in Online Dating, $1000 (Wtr)
  • 2022 UWT COVID Relief Grant: Gender, Sexuality, & Shifting Styles $1,700
  • 2022 Scholarship & Teaching Fund: Digital Discourse & Design in Online Dating, $4200
  • 2022 SIAS Mini-Grant: Digital Discourse & Design in Online Dating, $1000 (Wtr)
  • 2022 SIAS Mini-Grant: Digital Discourse & Design in Online Dating, $1000 (Spr)
  • 2021 Royalty Research Fund (RRF): Finding Love and Connection in the Digital Age. $29,166.00
  • 2020 Scholarship and Teaching Fund: Selling the Selfie: The Digital Dating Game, $1500
  • 2019 Interdisciplinary Teaching and Scholarship Collaboration Grants (Co-PI): Black women and sexualized media (with Carolyn West) $6000
  • 2019 Scholarship and Teaching Fund: Finding Connection in the Digital Age, $2,564,
  • 2019 Scholarship and Teaching Fund: Communication & Online Dating, $1,253,40
  • 2018 Popular Culture Association Endowment, John Bratzel Travel Grant, Online dating and identity construction for the non-monogamous, $1,000
  • 2016-2017 Washington Student Achievement Council (Co-PI), Core-Time-Digital, $450,000
  • 2015-2016 Washington Student Achievement Council (Co-PI), SBAC, $530,000
  • 2013-2015 Washington Student Achievement Council (Co-PI), Common Core, $550,000
  • 2009-2011 Founders Endowment Grant (Co-PI), “Web-based Assessment Toolkit”, Office of Academic Affairs, UW Tacoma, $3,800
  • 2008 Founders Endowment Grant, “Writing in the Web 2.0 World”, Office of Academic Affairs, UW Tacoma, $4,500


2023                  Fulbright Scholar: Digital Culture, University of Bergen, Norway, 1st alternate
2021                  UWT Distinguished Teaching Award, Nominee
2019                  National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), UWT Nominee
2016-2018        UW Provost’s Leadership Excellence Fellow
2014                  UWT Distinguished Teaching Award, Nominee

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