Dr. Shurli Makmillen

After living in both New Zealand and Canada for long periods, Dr. Makmillen is delighted to make her home here in Orangeburg, and with the Claflin community.


Dr. Makmillen's research interests in language, writing, genre theory, postcolonial literatures, and emancipatory pedagogies all come together to inform her commitment to seeing students conduct themselves successfully as writers of the world. Her particular teaching interests include composition and composition pedagogy, oral communication, linguistic pragmatics, rhetoric, and Indigenous literatures.



  • PhD (English) University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C. Canada.Major Fields: Rhetoric and Genre Theory. Aboriginal Studies. Language Studies. Autobiography. Legal Hermeneutics. Deconstruction.Dissertation: LAND, LAW, AND LANGUAGE: RHETORICS OF INDIGENOUS RIGHTS AND TITLE (2010)
  • Master of Arts (English) Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C. Canada.Specialization: Theories of language and composition (1998)
  • Bachelor of Arts (English) Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC

Research Interests

Dr. Makmillen continues her interest in how rhetorical genre theory and linguistic pragmatics can help us understand legal, paralegal, literary and academic genres—especially in settings involving the participation and frameworks of Indigenous and other minority peoples. Some of this work follows her dissertation research, and involves legal and literary texts. And some is inspired by her past involvement in teaching cohorts of Indigenous students, and her present teaching in an HBCU. In all cases she is interested in how the twenty-first century university operates as a site for students’ emerging expertise and identities.

Recent Publications

Thieme, Katja, and Shurli Makmillen. “A Principled Uncertainty: Writing Studies Methods in Contexts of Indigenization.” Forthcoming in College Composition and Communication, 2017.

Makmillen, Shurli and Margery Fee. “Disguising the Dynamism of the Law in Canadian Courts: Judges Using Dictionaries.” The Pragmatic Turn in Law. Inference and Interpretation. Eds. Janet Giltrow and Dieter Stein. Special Issue of Mouton Series of Pragmatics, 2015.

Makmillen, Shurli. “Colonial Texts in Postcolonial contexts: A Genre in the Contact Zone.” Linguistics and the Human Sciences: Special Issue on Genres and Social Ways of Being. Ed. C Bazerman. 3:1. 2007.

Recent Presentations

(With Janet Giltrow and others) “Writing Studies, Writing Centres, and ‘Student Success’: A Roundtable.” Conference of the Canadian Association for the Study of Discourse and Writing ( CASDW ), University of Ottawa. June 2, 2015.

(With Michelle Riedlinger.) “Moving Beyond ‘Can I use I?’: Self-reference in Indigenous Scholarship and Implications for Pedagogy.” Conference of the Canadian Association for the Study of Discourse and Writing ( CASDW ), University of Ottawa. May 31, 2015.

(With Katja Thieme.) “Methods for researching writing: The writing scholar vis-à-vis her colleagues.” CCCC Risks and Rewards Tampa, FL. March 18 2015

(With Meagan Aubé and Heather Fitzgerald.) “Non-hierarchical learning, individual writing support, and first-year aboriginal students: New approaches to student support and retention.” Conference of the Canadian Association for the Study of Discourse and Writing ( CASDW ) University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada – June 2, 2013.

Dr, Shurli Makmillen
Dr. Shurli Makmillen
Assistant Professor of English
  • School of Humanities & Social Sciences
GTK 209