Thomas Mitchell

Thomas Mitchell

Associate Teaching Professor, English

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Mitchell joined the Qatar faculty after completing a Ph.D. in rhetoric at CMU in 2013. He has taught introductory courses in academic writing and argumentation, style, writing in the professions, language and culture, and discourse analysis.


Ph.D., Rhetoric, Carnegie Mellon University, Dissertation title: Rhetoric of Place: Shaping a Struggling Neighborhood’s Reputation

B.A., English and Spanish, Emory University

Area Of Expertise

rhetoric of place, second language writing, discourse analysis

Research Description

Mitchell is currently pursuing two lines of research: one focuses on the relationship between discourse, identity, and place; the other focuses on academic writing development. These two lines of inquiry are linked by the methods he uses—ethnography and discourse analysis—and by the multicultural contexts that are significant to each. Two broad questions inform his research: What is the role of rhetoric in representations of place and place-based identities, especially when particular meanings about the same place are contested due to place-change brought about by multiculturalism? How can close linguistic analysis of academic writing inform pedagogy that leads to improved literacy development among linguistically and culturally diverse students?


Miller, R.T., Mitchell, T.D., & Pessoa, S. (2016). Impact of source texts and prompts on students’ genre uptake. Journal of Second Language Writing, 31, 11-24. doi:10.1016/j.jslw.2016.01.001

Mitchell, T.D., Miller, R.T., & Pessoa, S.  (2016).  Longitudinal changes in use of Engagement in university history writing: A case study. In L. Lai, A. Mahboob, and P. Wang (Eds.), Multiperspective Studies of Language: Theory and Application. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press. 145-153. (Proceedings of the 8th International Free Linguistics Conference)

Miller, R.T., Mitchell, T. D., & Pessoa, S. (2014).  Valued voices: Students’ use of Engagement in argumentative history writing. Linguistics and Education, 28, 107-120.  doi:10.1016/j.linged.2014.10.002

Mitchell, T.D. (2010). “A Latino community takes hold”: Reproducing semiotic landscapes in media discourse. In A. Jaworski and C. Thurlow (Eds.), Semiotic Landscapes (pp. 168-186). London: Continuum.

Working Papers

Mitchell, T.D. Shaping Sense of Place. 

Pessoa, S., Mitchell, T. D., & Miller, R.T. Emergent arguments: Student challenges with meeting the linguistic and generic expectations of argument genre. 

Mitchell, T. D. & Pessoa, S. A functional approach to student writing development of the argument genre in history: A case study of a novice and an experienced student writer.

Pessoa, S. & Mitchell, T.D. Scaffolding the writing development of the argumentative genre in history: The case of two novice writers.

Pessoa, S., Mitchell, T.D., & Riley, B. Scaffolding the Writing of Argumentative Essays in Functional Approach.

Thompson, M. & Mitchell, T.D. Teaching the college application essay in a global context.

Professional Activities

Classroom Workshops / Academic Literacy Interventions

  • Pessoa, S. & Mitchell, T.D.  (Fall 2015, Fall 2016). Global History writing workshop series: The stages and language of argumentative history writing. Carnegie Mellon University. Doha, Qatar.
  • Pessoa, S. & Mitchell, T.D.  (Fall 2015, Fall 2016). The Designed World writing workshop series: Unpacking prompts and addressing expectations. Carnegie Mellon University. Doha, Qatar.

Courses Taught

76-390, Style (F14, F16)

76-386/786, Language and Culture (F08)

76-385/785, Introduction to Discourse Analysis (F10)

76-270, Writing for the Professions (S10)

76-101, Interpretation and Argument (F06, S07, F07, S08, F09, S10, F11, S12, S13, S14, S15, S16)

  • Topics: Free Speech on the College Campus; The US Official English Language Controversy; The Philosophy of Immigration Control; Technology and Communication; Social Media and Social Relationships; Urbanism

76-100, Reading and Writing in the Academic Context (F12, F13, F14, F15, F16)

  • Topics: Consumerism; Globalization

English, Carnegie Mellon University Qatar’s Summer College Preview Program (2010-2012)