Deanna Benjamin

Senior Lecturer in College Writing and University College
Assistant Dean in College of Arts & Sciences
PhD, University of Missouri
MFA, Vermont College of Fine Arts
    View All People

    contact info:

    mailing address:

    • College Writing Program
    • MSC 1096-153-122
    • Washington University
    • 1 Brookings Drive
    • St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
    image of book cover

    Deanna Benjamin has taught critical and creative writing at Washington University since 2008. Her studies and teaching focus on theories of identity, memory, and storytelling, as well as the histories and structures of the essay, memoir, and lyric prose.  She also serves as an assistant dean in the College Office, where she is a four-year advisor, the director of the Peer Advising Program, co-director of the McLeod First-Year Writing Prize, a member of the External Fellowships committee, and a Pre-Health Advisor. 

    Featured Courses

    College Writing: Writing Identity

    What defines who we are and who we may become? How do class, gender, race, sexuality, and other social forces shape our identities? In what ways are our identities inherent or constructed, claimed or ascribed? In this course, we explore these and similar questions through the work of creative and critical writers, artists, and thinkers.

    The Essay: From Montaigne to The New Yorker

    The essay has a storied past and present and a variety of purposes. In this class, we trace the history of this form beginning with those long forgotten and not necessarily identified as essays and moving swiftly to present-day essays. We read works by such authors as Michel de Montaigne, Jonathan Swift, W. E. B. Du Bois, and Virginia Woolf, plus articles in 2020 issues of The New Yorker. We practice brief reflective and long formal essays, including a profile, a reportage, and a film review. By the end of the semester, students will have a good understanding of the essay's history and form and a good sensibility for writing it.

      Women and Fairness: Navigating an Unfair World

      Women and Fairness: Navigating an Unfair World

      "This collection brings together scholars from various disciplines to ask fundamental questions concerning how women handle the manifold impediments placed before them as they simply attempt to live full human lives." Contributions include Senior Lecturer and Assistant Dean Deanna Benjamin's "Writing Someone Else’s Story: Entitlement and Empathy in Maxine Hong Kingston’s 'No Name Woman.'"