Mira Shimabukuro


Lecturer, Full-Time

BA, Liberal Studies, Evergreen State College
MFA, Creative Writing, UW Seattle
PhD, Composition and Rhetoric, University of Wisconsin Madison

Office: UW1-337
Phone: 425-352-5067
Email: mshima2@uw.edu
Mailing: 358530, 18115 Campus Way NE, Bothell, WA 98011


No matter the class, my teaching always requires an on-going exploration of what is in order to contemplate what might be.

As such, I try to design classes that do the following: 1) provide multicultural, historic perspective; 2) create space in the classroom for students to bring and consider their diverse and dynamic identities; 3) utilize a variety of classroom activities to engage multiple learning styles; 4) explore contemporary multicultural situations relative to the specific course; and 5) stimulate critical thinking regarding the future and solutions to conflicts covered in the class.

The work I ask students to do often consists of both informal and formal types of writing, even in courses that are not explicitly about writing. Students in all of my classes can expect a significant amount of both small group and full class discussion, as I pay specific attention on ensuring that all voices are heard in the classroom. And because all texts require shifts in styles of reading, I devote some attention to metacognitive discussions of the ways we might read, especially as we shift across genres.

No matter what my plans are though, my approach to teaching always shifts depending upon the people, place and moment. I try hard to lean in to the student/s and moment in front of me. Whether I am working with factory workers trying to translate twenty years of experience into a one-page resume, or with new college students trying to hone ever-evolving ideas into an essay that stands still, or recent immigrants trying to express anger over proposed English-only laws, the nuances of my teaching are teased out differently depending upon the exact circumstances of a given class or a given individual student. And there’s always the possibility that events taking place outside of the classroom will change what I do. This is the exciting part about teaching and why I continue to do it: one never knows what exactly will happen.

Research and Creative Practice

Broadly speaking, my scholarship focuses on the ways U.S.-based communities of color have used written language to respond to and/or contend with the experiences of racialized oppression, both in private and in public. This has meant I regularly engage—through research and study—with the politics of language and identity; the embodied experience of writing as a site and practice of struggle; and the (multi)cultural rhetorics of social justice work and activism.

Most recently, my research has focused on the uses of writing by Japanese Americans to redress the World War II experience of mass incarceration. Such scholarship has meant an intentional interdisciplinary approach as well as a great deal of attention to research methodology and the politics of community knowledge. 

Looking toward the future, I expect my scholarly practices to take a few different directions: 1) Research in the politics of “diversifying” higher education and 2) Renewal of a socially-engaged, creative practice in poetry writing.

Selected Publications

Relocating Authority: Japanese Americans Writing to Redress Mass Incarceration, Utah State University Press/University Press of Colorado, 2015.

“Me Inwardly Before I Dared: Japanese Americans Writing to Gaman.” College English. Vol. 73, No. 6. July 2011.

“Relocating Authority: Co-Author(iz)ing a Japanese American Resistant Ethos Under Mass Incarceration,” Representations: Doing Asian American Rhetoric. LuMing Mao and Morris Young, eds. Utah State University Press: Logan, UT. 2008. Recipient of an Honorable Mention for the 2008 Mina Shaughnessy Award.

Present Tense: Writing and Art By Young Women, (co-edited with other members of the Young Women’s Editorial Collective: Amy Agnello, Maria Braganza, Sonia Gomez, Laura MacFarland, Zola Mumford, Micki Reaman, Teri Mae Rutledge, and Megan Smith), CALYX Press: Corvallis, 1996.

“After the Separation,” Fierce Brightness: 25 Years of Women’s Poetry. Margarita Donnelly, Beverly McFarland and Micki Reaman, eds. Calyx Press: Corvallis, 2002.

“Sockeye and Searching,” Bamboo Ridge Journal. Number 27. Spring 2000.

“Dandelions and Seaweed,” Intersecting Circles: Writings by Hapa Women. Marie Hara and Nora Cobb, eds. Bamboo Ridge Press: Honolulu, 2000.

“Picture,” CALYX Journal. Vol. 18, No. 1. Summer 1998.