Professor Gilligan: Storytelling is a Universal Method for Making Sense of the World

Monday, October 18, 2021

CARBON RADIO -- I’m Jim Gilligan, an associate professor of English education at San Francisco State University. I earned my Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction with a focus on secondary literacy and language education from Purdue University (West Lafayette, Indiana) in 2015, and I earned my B.A. (1988) and M.A. (1992) in English from Queens College of the City University of New York. I’m originally from Brooklyn, New York, and I’ve worked in education for over 33 years. On January 8, 2021, I appeared on the final episode of “Jeopardy!” ever hosted by Alex Trebek. And I won!

We write for a variety of reasons, from something as simple as creating a grocery list to help us remember everything with the need to buy at the store to more complex reasons such as authoring a dissertation to create new knowledge that might somehow help improve the lives of others. As I often tell my students, what and how we write is almost always determined by two factors — our purpose for writing and the audience for whom we are writing (even if that audience is just ourselves).