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Donna Hunter

Donna Hunter (650) 725-1215
Personal bio
Before starting to teach in the Program in Writing and Rhetoric, I was facilitating writing workshops in juvenile halls around the Bay Area for The Beat Within. (If you are interested in insightful, moving, unedited writing by incarcerated youth and adults, check out the website: www.thebeatwithin.org.) I began volunteering and then working full time at The Beat after earning my Ph.D. in English from UC Berkeley in 2000. Although this may seem like an odd transition, my dissertation, "Dead Men Talking," examined 18th century execution and crime narratives composed by and about Africans in colonial and early America and analyzed the historical, legal, and literary connections between blackness, criminality and writing. Sadly, the conflation of blackness and criminality evident in the 18th century has not changed significantly in the present day, so I became determined to understand more about these seemingly intractable bonds, and to contribute, in some tiny way, to loosening them in practice rather than just in theory, hence, my work at The Beat Within. Returning to the academy with a vastly expanded worldview, I am now continuing my exploration of representations of criminality by and about those deemed criminals, and specifically the rhetoric that informs these portraits. I am also interested in the uses of expressive writing, the rhetoric of philanthropy, the language and imagery surrounding the construction of identity, and the relationship between activism and academic work. And just in case I have given you the impression that my life and career path have all fit together seamlessly, I earned my BS from UC Berkeley in Conservation and Resource Studies; spent 13 months traveling in New Zealand, Australia, Southeast Asia, the South Pacific, India, and Europe, and five months in South America; have worked as a waitress; a kindergarten teacher on Ford Ord military base; a customer support manager and assistant editor at CNET; a proofreader and copyeditor for Forbes ASAP magazine and Garage.com; and an English instructor at West Valley College. I am also a yoga, meditation and bike-riding enthusiast. I love learning more than almost anything else in life, and I look forward to exchanging knowledge and experiences with you soon.

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