Academics at Prescott College
Joan Clingan, Ph.D.
Joan taught in Prescott College's graduate programs for twenty five years before retiring in 2017. She began teaching in the Master of Arts Program in 1993 and the Ph.D. Program in 2008. Her research design courses provided graduate students with a broad foundational understanding of research in order to evaluate existing work, as well as to design and carry out personally meaningful inquiry. In these courses she covered a breadth of methods and methodologies, with particular focus on: justice-, action-, and community-based research; critical, indigenous, and decolonizing methods; appreciative inquiry; and arts-based research. Joanie taught literature at the undergraduate and graduate level, and those courses also examined power and identity as well as an integrated approach to social and ecological justice, explored within the complex conceptual framing of change and sustainability. Joan’s scholarship and teaching encourage the connection of our understandings of love to the work we do as leaders, educators, artists, and activists, and the ways class works in life, scholarship, and activism. Joan's areas of specific academic interest include love and the role it plays in myriad philosophical and practical areas, and specifically class and culture as they relate to advancing, sustaining, and acting on love and respect.
Joan started working in higher education in 1987 when she served as the registrar and co-steering director for Peace Theological Seminary. In 1993 she began serving Prescott College’s Master of Arts program and later the Ph.D. program in academic and administrative roles, including turns as the director of academic affairs, director of the Master of Arts program, associate dean for graduate studies, and three separate stints as interim dean for the graduate programs. Her curriculum development work in the graduate programs includes serving for more than ten years as chair of the M.A. program in humanities and developing with her colleagues a Ph.D. program in sustainability education and a master of arts program in social justice and human rights. Her primary teaching during her tenure at Prescott College was in the arts and humanities (MA), social justice and human rights (MA), and sustainability education (PhD) programs.
Ph.D., Union Institute & University, 20th Century U.S. Literature and Culture, 2008;
M.A., University of Santa Monica, Applied Psychology, 1992;
B.A., Prescott College, Humanities: Arts and Letters, 2011.
Joan’s primary research interests are power and identity, social and environmental justice, and critical social theory--and the connection of love to these areas. Her analytical writing is related to the ways that identity and power are constructed, defined, and sustained through popular and historical cultural materials, such as literature, film, media, and art. Her analyses specifically address class, gender, and race and their intersections. Joan’s literary teaching and research interests additionally focus on the interconnection of social and ecological justice and sustainability; the politics of social constructs such as class, race, nation, sexuality, and gender; issues of oppression and resistance; and the potential created by love through coalitions and solidarity. She does her best to include these concepts in her creative as well as her scholarly writing.
Joan’s current research project is a collaborative multidisciplinary investigation into the ways that the concepts of love has been addressed (or not) in various academic disciplines. Joan's contribution to this collaborative study focuses historically on emancipatory theory and on-the-ground action. This secondary research project will be followed by primary research related to the effect of love on change and the sustainability of well-being, happiness, and justice (social/environmental).
Joan is also researching theories of leadership and change that incorporate transformation and spirituality and which are based on productive relationships built on trust. Her research in leadership informs her writing and teaching, as well as her work in higher education administration and governance.
In addition to the research design courses she facilitates in the College’s sustainability education doctoral program, Joan has worked with a number of doctoral students who consider social aspects of sustainability, as they relate to justice, community, transformative learning/education, or human connection to and impact on sustainability.
Joan does research and writing related to effective methods of research design and is currently working on a book that presents effective strategies and methods for developing and designing research. As with her teaching, this text will support students in considering the ways in which research design might benefit from the incorporation of participatory, justice based research that incorporates feminist, collaborative, spiritual, transformational, or other appreciative/beneficial social/human approaches.
Joan’s specific literary research uses twentieth century U.S. literature to examine issues of supremacism and oppression, as well as consideration of and action toward change, justice, and sustainability. Her work focuses on literature by writers who represent these concepts through a wide breadth of circumstances and perspectives on life in the United States, or what she likes to think of as the literature of the marginalized majority. Joan’s dissertation, “Who is We?: Toward a Theory of Solidarity; Toward a Future of Sustainability,” develops a critical theory based on the philosophies and practices of solidarity and sustainability. In it she considers existing critical social theory and proposes a model that uses solidarity as the framework through which to address supremacist ideology that threatens the sustainability of healthy and diverse social cultures. Joan’s master’s research concentrated on spiritual psychology and her undergraduate degree covered literature, creative writing, and social/ecological justice.
Clingan, Joan. “A Pedagogy of Love.”The Journal of Sustainability Education. Prescott College, Prescott, AZ. March 2015.
Clingan, Joan. Guest editor. Sustainabilty: What's Love Got to Do with It? The Journal of Sustainability Education, Prescott College, 2015.
Clingan, Joan. “Needing Help: Portraying the Power Relationships Between White Women and Black Domestic Workers.” A paper prepared for How Class Works, a conference at State University of New York Stony Brook’s Center for Study of Working Class Life. Stony Brook, NY. June 9, 2012.
Clingan, Joan. “Sunnyslope—A Working‐Class Novel: Otherwise Known As You Can’t Get Here from There.” A reading of fiction at the annual conference of the Working-Class Studies Association. Chicago, IL. June 24, 2011.
Clingan, Joan. “War Dances/Class Wars: Exploring Class in Sherman Alexie’s Short Fiction.” A paper presented at The Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States’ (MELUS) Twenty-fourth Annual Conference: Ethnic Transformation in the Self and the City. Scranton, PA. April 10, 2010.
Clingan, Joan. “Race, Power, and Sexual Politics in Cincinnati: Counter-hegemonic Narrative of Morrison’s Beloved and Margaret Garner.” A paper presented at the 29th Annual National Women’s Studies Association Conference. Cincinnati, OH. June 20, 2008.
Clingan, Joan. “‘Small-Town Fiction’ also known as ‘Schlub Stays Put’: Considering Work and Class in Richard Russo’s Bridge of Sighs as Contrasted with its Reviews.” A paper presented at How Class Works, a conference at State University of New York Stony Brook’s Center for Study of Working Class Life. Stony Brook, NY. June 7, 2008.
Clingan, Joan. “Who Took the Work out of New Orleans Working-Class Culture? Examining Work, Housing, and Culture Two Years after the Breach.” Workshop presented at the annual conference of the Working-Class Studies Association by invitation of the WCSA president. St. Paul, MN. June 16, 2007.
Clingan, Joan. “But What Can I Do?: Refuting the Privilege that Allows Toleration of Oppression/Utilizing Privilege in Action and Solidarity.” A roundtable session organized and moderated at the Southern University at New Orleans Race, Gender, and Class Project’s (SUNO RGC) Sixth Annual International Conference: RCG Solidarity Across Borders: Natural and Social Catastrophes. Discussants include Drew Dellinger, Eric Stauffer, and Joan Clingan. As member of conference organizing committee assembled five additional sessions by New Orleans activists and Prescott College graduate faculty and students. New Orleans, LA. February 3, 2007.
Appointed Faculty Emeritus by unanimous vote of the Prescott College Faculty. 2016.
Nominated for the Constance Coiner Award for Best Dissertation (by Renny Christopher, Ph.D., to the Working-Class Studies Association). 2008.
Nominated for the Marvin B. Sussman Award for Outstanding Dissertation (by Anu Mitra, Ph.D., to the faculty of Union Institute & University—5% of class, or 5 graduates, were nominated). 2008.
Graduated with honors from the Master of Arts Program in Applied Psychology, University of Santa Monica. 1992.