Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue
Judson Laughter

Judson Laughter, PhD

Associate Professor, English Education


Judson Laughter is an associate professor of English education at the University of Tennessee. He earned a BA in English and a BA in French from Vanderbilt, graduating with honors in each subject. He then studied English literature at Keble College of Oxford University as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. Upon returning to the United States, he taught English, language arts, and music at the middle and high school levels before returning to Vanderbilt’s Peabody College to pursue his doctoral degree in teaching and learning. While at Peabody, Laughter supervised student teachers in Nashville and Cambridge, England; wrote reports and protocols for NCATE accreditation; and served as the lead editorial assistant for the National Reading Conference Yearbook.

Laughter is currently the advisor for the Educational Studies English Education program and works with interns every year to complete edTPA and action research.  He also conducts the introductory doctoral seminar for TPTE. He teaches courses in English methods, sociolinguistics, trends and issues in education, and action research. When not wearing his academic hat, he enjoys crossword puzzles, cycling, and traveling. His most recent trip was a family escapade to Iceland and Denmark.


Professional Background


Laughter’s research interests include multicultural teacher education and the preparation of preservice teachers for the diverse classroom through dialogue and narrative.  He focuses on culturally relevant education and critical race theory across multiple content areas and academic fields. He recently published a series of three articles on culturally relevant education and a book on critical race theory in teacher education.

Laughter is also involved in an ongoing project providing cultural competency training to local schools. This training began with full-day professional development sessions for all Knox County employees and is now expanding to work with smaller learning communities based at each school. This on-the-ground, context specific work is engaging teachers and students where they are and helping them to build better institutions that serve all students equitably.


Doctor of Philosophy (Language, Literacy, and Culture), Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee

Visiting Scholar (Middle and Early Modern English), Keble College of Oxford University, Oxford, United Kingdom

Bachelor of Arts (English, French), Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee


Professional Service

Cultural Competency Training. Co-Primary Investigator. Knox County Schools. $170,000. 2018-2019.

UTK Representative, Tennessee Network for Educator Preparation Partnerships (2016-2018)

Institutional Service 

Member, Diversity Collaborative in Education, TPTE (2017-present)

Member, Dean’s Administrative Council, CEHHS (2016-2017)

President, Faculty Senate, CEHHS (2016-2017)

Committee Chair, Secondary Education, TPTE (2016-present)

Member, Assessment Committee, College of Education Health and Human Science (2015-present)

Member, Senate, College of Education Health and Human Sciences (2014-2018)

Committee Member, Revision of Review of Research Guidelines, TPTE (2013)

Committee Member, Revision of P&T Guidelines, TPTE (2012-2013)

Committee Chair, Strategic Plan Priority 6, TPTE (2012)

Committee Member, Secondary Education, TPTE (2009-present)

Committee Member, Middle Grades Education, TPTE (2009-2014)

Program Coordinator, English Education Track 1 (2009-present)

Program Coordinator, Middle Grades ELA (2011-2012)

Recent Disciplinary service

Literacy Research Association, Board of Directions Parliamentarian (2018-2019)

Literacy Research Association, Area 2 Co-Chair (2015-2018)

Literacy Research Association, Ed Fry Book Award Committee (2013-2016)

Co-editor (with Susan Groenke) of the Layered Literacies Column in The ALAN Review 42.

Awards and Recognitions

Frank W. Harvey Professorship, CEHHS (2019)

ProCADS Exemplary Achievement Certificate, Bailey GSE (2018)

Helen B. Watson Outstanding Faculty Research Award, CEHHS (2016)

Finalist, Chancellor’s Excellence in Teaching Award (2016)

Winner, If My College Were a Whisky, Oxford Today (2016)

Second Place, Great Smoky Mountains National Park Scavenger Hunt (2015)

Faculty Teaching Award, TPTE (2014)

Winner, Listen for the Rhyme. Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. NPR (2014)

Outstanding Reviewer Award, Urban Education (2012)


Selected articles, books, and book chapters 

Han, K. T., & Laughter, J. C. (Eds.)(2019). Critical race theory in teacher education: Informing classroom culture and practice. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Walker, P., & Laughter, J. (2019). Shoaling rhizomes: A theoretical framework for understanding social media’s role in discourse and composition education. Computers and Composition. doi:10.1016/j.compcom.2019.05.005

Aronson, B., & Laughter, J. C. (2018). The theory and practice of culturally relevant education: Expanding the conversation to include gender and sexuality equity. Gender and Education. doi:10.1080/09540253.2018.1496231

Laughter, J. C. (2018). Race in Educational Researcher: A technical comment on Li and Koedel (2017). Educational Researcher, 47, 259-261.

Laughter, J. C., Huddleston, A., Shipman, M., & Victory, H. (2018). Our students are watching: Navigating heightened partisanship during class discussion. English Teaching: Practice and Critique, 17(2), 103-115.

Laughter, J. C. (2017). From bending to breaking rules. In J. E. Justice & F. B. Tenore (Eds.), Becoming critical teacher educators: Narratives of resistance, possibility, and praxis (pp. 108-117). New York, NY: Routledge.

Hruby, G. G., Burns, L. D., Botzakis, S., Groenke, S. L., Hall, L. A., Laughter, J., & Allington, R. L. (2016). The metatheoretical assumptions of literacy engagement: A preliminary centennial history. Review of Research in Education, 40(1), 588-643.

Aronson, B., Amatullah, T., & Laughter, J. C. (2016). Culturally relevant education: Extending the conversation to religious diversity. Multicultural Perspectives, 18, 140-149. doi:10.1080/15210960.2016.1185609

Aronson, B., & Laughter, J. C. (2016). The theory and practice of culturally relevant education: A synthesis of research across content areas. Review of Educational Research, 86, 163-206. doi:10.3102/0034654315582066

Laughter, J. C. (2016). “My Black kids are not sub-pops”: Reflecting on the impact of standardized testing in English education. English Education, 48, 267-275.

Laughter, J. C. (2015). “My Black kids are not sub-pops”: When social justice attitudes and dispositions are not enough. Scholar-Practitioner Quarterly, 9, 297-312.

Gass, K., & Laughter, J. C. (2015). “Can I make any difference?” Teacher impact on gang affiliation and the school-to-prison pipeline. Journal of Negro Education, 84, 333-347.

Groenke, S., & Laughter, J. (2015). Layered literacies: Tech tools for reader response, communal engagement, and effective writing. The ALAN Review, 42(3), 73-78.

Milner, H. R., & Laughter, J. C. (2015). But good intentions are not enough: Preparing teachers to center race and poverty. The Urban Review, 47, 341-363. doi:10.1007/s11256-014-0295-4

Milner, H. R., Laughter, J. C., & Childs, J. (2015). Developing teacher leadership for equity in urban schools. In M. Khalifa, C. Grant, & N. Witherspoon Arnold (Eds.), Handbook for Urban Educational Leadership (pp. 85-90). London: Rowman & Littlefield.

Groenke, S. L., & Laughter, J. C. (2015) “Don’t say gay”: Using action research to interrogate language use in the English classroom. In E. Morrell & L. Scherff (Eds.), New directions in teaching English: Reimagining teaching, teacher education, and research (pp. 157-174). Lanham, ND: Rowman & Littlefield.

Selected presentations

Laughter, J. C. (2018, November). Reclaiming racial literacy at LRA and in education. Refereed presentation at the Literacy Research Association Annual Conference. Indian Wells, CA.

Adams, A., & Laughter, J. C. (2018, March). ProCADS: A new tool for assessing preservice teacher dispositions. Refereed presentation at the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education annual meeting. Baltimore, MD.

Boyd, A. S., Dutro, E., Edwards, P., Handsfield, L., Justice, J., Laughter, J., & Tenore, F. B. (2017, December). Becoming critical teacher educators: Expanding meaningfulness through autoethnography. Refereed presentation at the Literacy Research Association Annual Conference. Tampa, FL.

Laughter, J. C., & Aronson, B. (2016, November). CRT in teacher education: Moving beyond and behind the achievement gap. Refereed presentation at the Literacy Research Association Annual Conference. Nashville, TN.

Laughter, J. C. (2016, November). Critical frameworks in adolescent literacy motivation and engagement: Findings and implications for social transformation. Refereed symposium at the Literacy Research Association Annual Conference. Nashville, TN.

Laughter, J. C. (2016, November). CRT study group. Refereed study group at the Literacy Research Association Annual Conference. Nashville, TN.

Dover, A., DeSteigter, T., Gorlewski, J., Laughter, J., & Miller, sj. (2016, November). Secondary methods under siege: Reclaiming and revisiting methods courses. Refereed roundtable at the National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention. Atlanta, GA.

Laughter, J. C., Botzakis, S., & Mallozzi, C. (2015, December). Town hall literacies: A critical discourse analysis of the LRA Back Channel. Refereed presentation at the Literacy Research Association Annual Conference. Carlsbad, CA.

Judson Laughter

Contact Information

  • A418 Jane & David Bailey Education Complex, 1126 Volunteer Boulevard, Knoxville, TN 37996
  • Phone: 865-974-8385
  • E-mail: