Naomi Greyser

Associate Professor

Naomi Greyser is associate professor of American Studies, English and Gender, Women’s & Sexuality Studies, as well as executive director of POROI, Iowa’s Project on Rhetoric of Inquiry. In her research, teaching and service, Greyser engages the process of knowledge creation, with an eye towards making space for messiness and unpredictability—but not too much!

Greyser’s first book, On Sympathetic Grounds: Race, Gender, and Affective Geographies in Nineteenth-Century North America, was published with Oxford University press in 2017. Her articles appear in journals across the humanities, including American Quarterly, Feminist Studies, American Literature, and MELUSMultiethnic Literatures in the US. Through her scholarship, Greyser brings the literary-rhetorical arts to bear on conversations in university studies, the geo-humanities, American studies, intersectional gender studies, and history of the senses.  

With the support of grants from the Harvard-Radcliffe Institute and Iowa’s provost office, Greyser is currently completing the first of two interlinked book projects: Un/Blocked: Writing, Research, and the Creative Process and Blocked: Writing, Race and Gender at the University. These volumes use a social justice lens to respond to the seemingly simple question: what do humans need to solve problems and explore and express ideas? Blocked maps university infrastructures and histories that have delimited what can be asked and examined, how, and by whom. Un/Blocked, in turn, lays out rhetorical practices and institutional environments that inspire inquiry for scholars across fields and backgrounds. 

Un/Blocked draws on Greyser’s work supporting academics with their research and writing through the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. At NCFDD, Greyser collaborates with senior leadership to enhance programming for faculty from over 450 colleges and universities. Her book projects on inquiry, block and flow—and fellowships this year with the Mellon Foundation’s HuMetrics Initiative and Iowa’s Obermann Center—are part of a sustained commitment to building a more just, genuinely inclusive, and generative academy.

A passionate teacher and winner of the President and Provost Award for Teaching as well as the Collegiate Teaching Award, Greyser strives to build lively and equitable learning communities where students can engage in writing, reflecting, and creating in a world that often cuts off these vital human activities.  Classes scaffold workshops, conferences, and support for original research-based projects into the term. All students are warmly invited to visit her office to talk about class material and their aims at the university and beyond.

Greyser earned her PhD in English & Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine with certificates in critical theory and interdisciplinary gender studies. Before joining the faculty at Iowa and learning to love the prairie, she held a postdoctoral fellowship in writing and rhetoric at Stanford University. 

Research Areas:

Writing, inquiry and university studies

19th-Century US literatures and cultures

Gender, sexuality and literature

Intersectional, transnational American studies

Affect theory and history of the senses

Spatial justice and the geo-humanities


Naomi Greyser
PhD, University of California–Irvine

422 Jefferson Building (JB)
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States