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Stephanie R. Toliver is an assistant professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Informed by her love of science fiction and fantasy texts as well as her experience as a 9th and 10th grade English teacher, Toliver’s scholarship centers the freedom dreams of Black youth and honors the historical legacy that Black imaginations have had and will have on activism and social change. Specifically, her research centers three interrelated areas: (1) the examination of how Black youth engage in the reading and writing of speculative fiction to discuss and challenge their experiences with social injustice; (2) the exploration of how Black people use storytelling to describe modern and historical antiblackness and to dream of worlds and futures in which Black people are free from the burdens of societal injustice; and (3) the consideration of how intersecting oppressions infiltrate the field of English education and how teacher educators can use reflexivity exercises and arts-based pedagogies to help pre-service teachers imagine ways to combat educational injustices. She is the author of the award-winning book, Recovering Black Storytelling in Qualitative Research: Endarkened Storywork, and her academic work has been published in several journals, including Equity, Excellence, & Education; Journal of Literacy Research; and Journal for Multicultural Education. Her public scholarship has been featured on LitHub, Huffpost, and the Horn Book.


  • L Education
  • Black Girls
  • Afrofuturism
  • Radical Imagination
  • Womanism
  • Black Feminism
  • Black Storytelling
  • Thematic Analysis
  • Critical Ethnography
  • Critical Discourse Analysis
  • Endarkened Storywork
  • Reader Response Theory
  • Critical Content Analysis
  • Speculative Fiction
  • Critical Literacy
  • Arts-Based Methods
  • Young Adult Literature
  • Social Justice Theories
  • Preservice Teacher Training
  • Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies
  • Arts-Based Research Methods


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