Edith Gnanadass

Assistant Professor

Ball Hall 123
Office Hours
By appointment
Faculty Picture

About Dr. Gnanadass

Edith Gnanadass is an assistant professor of higher and adult education in the Department of Leadership. Prior to her employment at the University of Memphis, she worked at the Goodling Institute for Family Literacy and the Institute for the Study of Adult Literacy at the Pennsylvania State University.

Dr. Gnanadass' research interests include race and learning, adult learning theory, DesiCrit, and qualitative research. Her research has appeared in such venues as Adult Learning, The International Journal of Literacy, Language, and Numeracy, The Handbook of Distance Education and presented at various scholarly conferences. She is currently working on the following research projects: Beyond the Black-White binary in Memphis, school as a site of racialization, and the racialized experience of South Asian Americans.

Dr. Gnanadass teaches courses on adult learning and research at the University of Memphis. She has taught courses on adult literacy, adult education, feminist theory, and research at Penn State and University of Houston, Victoria. She has over 20 years of professional experience in adult, early childhood, and higher education working with diverse populations. This experience in the field combined with her research and teaching in adult education and women's studies gives her a broad perspective on both practical and theoretical issues of the field.

She is the Book Reviews Editor of Dialogues in Social Justice: An Adult Education Journal and serves on the board of Literacy Mid-South and the Adult Higher Education Alliance (AHEA). She is associated with academic organizations including, but not limited to the Commission for Professors of Adult Education (CPAE), American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE), and AHEA.


  • Ph.D. Lifelong Learning & Adult Education with a Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Minor, Pennsylvania State University
  • M.B.A. International Business, Thunderbird School of Global Management
  • B.B.A. Finance and Banking, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Sample Publications

  • Gnanadass, E., Murray, K., & Vetter M. (in press). The influence of immigration on scholarship and practice: A case of three adult educators. Adult Learning.
  • Gnanadass, E., & Merriweather, L. (2020). Troubling the discursive moment: Using Black texts for activating dialogue. New directions for adult and continuing education: Adult Education in the Age of Trump and Brexit 2020(165), 21-33.
  • Gnanadass, E. (2019). "Race"ing White Instructors: Beyond the Black-White Binary. Adult Literacy Education: The International Journal of Literacy, Language, and Numeracy, 1(2), 96-102.
  • Gnanadass, E., & Sanders, Amelia Y. (2019). Gender still matters in distance education. In M. G. Moore & W. C. Diehl (Eds.), Handbook of distance education (4th ed.) (pp. 79-91). New York, NY: Routledge.
  • Gnanadass, E. (2014). Learning to teach about race: The racialized experience of a South Asian American feminist educator. Adult Learning, 25(3), 96-102.