portrait of Jan Cooper
  • John C. Reid Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Composition and English
  • Member of the Comparative American Studies Committee


  • BA, Auburn University, 1976
  • MA, University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa, 1978
  • PhD, University of Iowa, 1986


Jan Cooper came to Oberlin College in 1984, and is the John Charles Reid Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Composition.

She teaches Writing to Learn and Participate, Rhetorics of Gender Non-Conformity in Film and Television, Writing in the Sciences, and Writing Grant Proposals, as well as supervising the Practicum in Journalism sponsored by the Department of Rhetoric and Composition.

Cooper’s academic interests include queer studies, journalism, writing in the sciences, and southern United States literature. Cooper is currently researching the intersection of race, class, region, and sexuality in Queer American film/television. and current issues in American journalism.

Cooper was named the first recipient of the Oberlin College Distinguished Teaching Award in the Humanities in 1998. She also has taught writing at the Universities of Alabama and Iowa and worked briefly as a technical writer at Auburn University for the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service.

For an example of her coediting see Living in the Vermilion River Watershed .

"Queering the Contact Zone." Journal of Advanced Composition. 24.1. 2004.

"Zora Neale Hurston Was Always a Southerner Too; or, Thoughts on the De-Segregation of the Southern Renascence," The Female Tradition in Southern Literature, a collection of essays on southern U.S.A. women writers edited by Carol S. Manning (Champaign: Univ. of Illinois Press, 1993).

"A Theoretical Context" and "Reading Literature Analytically," Chapters One and Four in Teaching College Students to Read Analytically: An Individualized Approach, published by the National Council of Teachers of English, 1985.


Winter Term in Oberlin: 2020

February 24, 2020
Winter Term is a time of year when Oberlin students are encouraged to conduct independent or group projects outside of courses related to their majors. Pursuits can be done on or off campus with students choosing to work almost anywhere on the map. This year we highlight some of the work by the more than 900 students who completed projects in Oberlin.