Robert Petrone

Robert Petrone

  • Associate Professor

Robert Petrone (he/him/his) is Associate Professor in the Department of Learning, Teaching, and Curriculum at the University of Missouri. He is also Co-Editor for the international academic journal, English Teaching: Practice & Critique, Co-Director of the Missouri Language & Literacies Center, and Coordinator for the Language and Literacies for Social Transformation Doctoral Program. Prior to joining Mizzou, Dr. Petrone was a faculty member at Montana State University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, earned graduate degrees at Northern Arizona University and Michigan State University, and taught middle and high school English and Reading in New York and Colorado.

As an interdisciplinary scholar with an equity focus, Dr. Petrone’s research moves across many domains, including: 1) examination—through a “Youth Lens”—of the cultural production of ideas of “age,” “youth” and “adolescence,” particularly as they are produced by and through discourse, texts (literary and media), and policies; 2) exploration of youth cultural, learning, and literacy practices in contexts beyond schools (e.g., skateboarding); and 3) collaboration with educators to build curricula that critiques deficit renderings of adolescents, centers youth epistemologies, and repositions youth as educational experts (e.g., “Repositioning Pedagogy”). In short, Dr. Petrone’s research examines “adolescence” as a cultural construct, the lived experiences of people known as “adolescents,” and the ways these two lines of inquiry inform pedagogical practices to improve the schooling experiences for young people, particularly those from historically underrepresented communities.

Methodologically, Dr. Petrone employs critical discourse analysis, literary analysis, critical ethnography, and participatory approaches. Demographically, his work has primarily been in relation with Indigenous, Latino, and white working-class and low SES, male youth in rural contexts. Recently, his work, which has received funding from the Spencer Foundation, consists of a long-term, participatory research collaboration with students and staff of an alternative high school on a Native American Reservation.

Dr. Petrone’s scholarship has been published in a wide range of academic books and journals, including Harvard Educational Review, Educational Researcher, Journal of Adolescent Research, Journal of Literacy Research, Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, English Education, and Teaching and Teacher Education. In addition, Dr. Petrone has co-authored two books: Re-thinking the “Adolescent” in Adolescent Literacy (with Drs. Sophia Sarginiadies and Mark A. Lewis) and Teaching English in Rural Communities (with Dr. Allison Wynhoff Olsen).

He also has a solo-authored monograph that was recently published by University of Massachusetts Press entitled Dropping In: What Skateboarders Can Teach Us about Learning, Schooling, and Youth Development, which is a long-term ethnographic study that explores the learning, literacy, and cultural practices of a group of working-class, Latino and white, male rural skateboarders.

Areas of Expertise

  • Critical Youth Studies
  • Cultural Production of “Adolescence” & the Youth Lens
  • Sociocultural and Critical Perspectives on Learning and Literacy