Laura Greenfield

Director of the Transformative Speaking Program & Faculty Associate
Laura Greenfield
Contact Laura

Laura Greenfield

Laura Greenfield is the founding director of the Transformative Speaking Program and a faculty associate in communication and education in the School of Critical Social Inquiry. She earned her B.A. in English from Washington University in St. Louis and her Ph.D. in English from the George Washington University, where her scholarship focused on anti-oppression education and language diversity.

Her research and teaching interests include speaking and writing program administration, with a particular focus on social justice frameworks; critical pedagogy and anti-oppression education, with a particular focus on race and gender; public speaking, composition, and rhetoric; sociolinguistics, with a particular focus on ESOL and racially stigmatized language use in the United States; and contemporary multicultural American literatures, with a particular focus on “hybrid” or borderland identities.

She has taught public speaking, writing, American literature, English language, and peer mentoring theory through these various lenses to students spanning elementary school through college and professional levels. At Hampshire, she teaches introductory public speaking courses and a theory and practice course for students preparing to work as peer speaking mentors with the Transformative Speaking Program.

Her recent book Writing Centers and the New Racism: A Call for Sustainable Dialogue and Change (Utah State University Press, 2011), with Dr. Karen Rowan, was the winner of the International Writing Centers Association Outstanding Book Award in 2012. She is currently working on her second book, titled A College Women’s Guide to Powerful Speaking: How to Transform Yourself and the World One Word at a Time. Dr. Greenfield also frequently collaborates with her students on producing scholarship, including conference presentations and articles. She is currently writing a co-authored essay with two Hampshire students addressing opportunities for speaking and writing programs to facilitate transformative change within global systems of gender-based violence.

Working for over a decade as a leader in speaking and writing centers, she most recently served as the associate director of the Weissman Center for Leadership and the Liberal Arts at Mount Holyoke College, where she brought its Speaking, Arguing, and Writing Program into international prominence.

Dr. Greenfield took her vision for empowered communication to the global stage in 2012 when she founded Women’s Voices Worldwide, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting social justice around the globe by educating women and girls to be powerful speakers in all areas of personal, academic, professional, and civic life, regardless of financial means. She continues to direct this organization outside of her work at Hampshire. (

Dr. Greenfield has served on the board of directors of regional and national writing center organizations, and as chair or co-chair of national and international writing center conferences. From Massachusetts to Saudi Arabia, she has provided consultation for institutions of higher education around the world seeking guidance in establishing their own speaking and writing programs.

She is thrilled have joined the Hampshire College community to realize a vision of making speaking a hallmark of a Hampshire education.

Recent and Upcoming Courses

  • How do we move beyond assumptions that education is politically neutral and instead grab ahold of the potential of education as a vehicle for liberation? In this introductory education course, we will explore a tradition inspired by the work of the late Brazilian educator Paulo Freire: Critical Pedagogy. Critical pedagogy is a philosophy of education that promotes both critical consciousness raising and political action to struggle against oppression. Students will encounter the major tenets of Critical Pedagogy as articulated by a range of contemporary scholars and teachers; examine potential interpretations of Critical Pedagogy in the disciplines that interest them most (including the humanities, social sciences, sciences, and the arts) and as influenced by related theories (such as feminist theory, queer theory, disability studies, critical race studies, and more); and craft their own philosophies and practices in process by designing lesson plans and facilitating activities among their classmates. This course is reading and writing intensive, fully remote (there may be some optional in-person opportunities pending resources), and will require 6-8 hours of work outside of class time. Key words: education, social justice, politics, oppression

  • No description available

  • What role does language standardization play in perpetuating white supremacy / systemic racism? How is racism evident in dominant assumptions about the relative value of different language varieties? How do institutions employ racism strategically to police the languages of Black people and other people of color? What opportunities can we enact to intervene? In this introductory sociolinguistics course, we will learn about the etymologies and histories of various U.S. languages (including our own); we will analyze controversies such as the Oakland Ebonics debate and the national English-Only movement; and we will consider how U.S. authors and activists navigate language politics to "re-write" the world. Ultimately, our study is intended to propel our activism: How can we use what we learn to make change? This course will also provide the opportunity for students to develop skills in close reading, critical and creative writing, independent research, and creative online presentation methods. Key words:Language, racism, identity, linguistics, politics

  • No description available