Stephanie Toliver
Assistant Professor
Literacy Studies • Humanities Education

Fleming Building, Room 400C
University of Colorado Boulder
249 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309

Stephanie Renee Toliver is an assistant professor of Literacy and Secondary Humanities at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She earned her Ph.D. in Language and Literacy Education as well as a graduate certificate in diversity, equity, and inclusion from the University of Georgia, and she was a 2019 NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellow. She is also a proud alumna of Florida State University (M.S Curriculum and Instruction, 2015) and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (B.A. English Education, 2011).

Informed by her love of science fiction and fantasy texts as well as her experience as a 9th and 10th grade English and reading teacher, Toliver’s scholarship centers the freedom dreams of Black youth and honors the historical legacy that Black imaginations have had and will have on activism and social change. Specifically, her research hinges upon four central questions: (1) What stories might Black youth tell when they read, write, listen to, and watch speculative fiction? (2) How do Black people use speculative fiction as a social justice tool? (3) How are Black youth positioned in speculative fiction texts? and (4) How can literacy researchers and English teachers use speculative fiction in research and teaching? Through these queries, Toliver discusses the implications of erasing Black children from futuristic and imaginative contexts and assists teachers in imagining how classrooms can use speculative fiction as a means to center Black joy and Black dreams.

Her academic work has been published in several journals, including Research on Diversity in Youth Literature, Journal of Children’s Literature, Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, and English Journal. Her public scholarship has been featured on LitHub, Huffpost, and the Horn Book.

EDUC 4295/5295: Narrative and Story in the Humanities

EDUC 8155: Advanced Topics in Literacy Education


Toliver, S.R. (2020). “We wouldn’t have the same connection”: Using read-alouds to build community with Black girls. Voices from the Middle.

Toliver, S.R. (2020). Afrocarnival: Celebrating Black bodies and critiquing oppressive bodies in Afrofuturist literature. Children’s Literature in Education. Online First Edition.

Toliver, S.R. (2019). Breaking binaries: #BlackGirlMagic and the Black ratchet imagination. Journal of Language and Literacy Education, 15(1), 1-26.

Toliver, S.R. & Miller, K. (2019). (Re)Writing reality: Using science fiction to analyze the world. English Journal, 108(3), 51-59. (Contribution: 75%).

Toliver, S.R. (2018). Alterity and innocence: The hunger games, Rue, and Black girl adultification. Journal of Children’s Literature, 44(2), 4-15.

Toliver, S.R. (2018). Imagining new hopescapes: Expanding Black girl’s windows and mirrors. Research on Diversity in Youth Literature, 1(1), article 3.

Toliver, S.R. (2017). Unlocking the cage: Empowering literacy representations in Netflix’ Luke Cage series. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 61(6), 621-630.