John Peterson has taught in the Program in Writing and Rhetoric since 2004. Before coming to Stanford, he was a mentor teacher in the UC Irvine Writing Program and started the writing curriculum in the Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences Program at the University of Washington, Tacoma. Born and raised in Los Angeles, John completed his BA in Literature at UC Santa Cruz and his MFA in Creative Writing (Fiction) at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Formerly Coordinator for PWR 1, in addition to teaching PWR courses, he is a faculty advisor to frosh and sophomores, co-teaches the Public Policy graduate course in rhetoric, tutors in Public Policy, and works in the Hume Center for Writing and Speaking.
John is interested in how people's backgrounds, experiences, and their relationships to technology shape the ways they learn to write. Past classes have ranged from research in liberal arts education, to study of the tension between art and commerce, to investigations of pop culture. He is currently co-authoring a chapter on writing and Google Docs, "Tinker,Teacher, Sharer, Spy: Negotiating Surveillance in Online Collaborative Writing Spaces," and writing a book-length inquiry into how improvisation is a learned activity that requires both practice and imagination: "Improvisation and Free Speech: The Danger and Beauty of Speaking Off-the-Cuff."