English Language and Literature ETDs

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The Literacies of Literary Texts: Rhetorical Bridges Between English Studies Disciplines and First-Year Writers seeks to blend rhetoric, composition, and literary discourses to illustrate how the subfields may engage in interdisciplinary collaboration and conversation. These conversations are important. For English studies to remain relevant in an increasingly business-minded model of higher education, departments must reassess their approaches and methods. As one way to reimagine English studies, I advocate for English studies return to rhetoric. In an increasingly complex world, Departments of English can become indispensible by using rhetoric to prepare their students for to rhetorically adapt to diverse discourse communities. Rhetoric and composition faculty can use literary characters as examples of rhetorical awareness and discourse community membership; such literary examples may prove useful if rhetoric and composition faculty hope to create buy in among their literature and creative writing colleagues. In order to show how literary characters can be presented as examples, I read Bleak House, Dracula, and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There as illustrative texts demonstrating how community membership depends on the rhetorical knowledge of literacy practices. Moving beyond the analytical, I apply my readings of Bleak House, Dracula, and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There to the first-year composition classroom. The characters of Jo, Dracula, and Alice illustrate the struggle between privileged and subordinate literacies, insider and outsider practices, and this praxis serves two purposes: (1) To help rhetoric and composition faculty see how the literacies of literary texts can be used to communicate rhetorical awareness, and (2) how literary texts can help first-year students understand the relationship between discourse community membership and rhetorical knowledge. This project's two pronged purpose aims to foster interdisciplinarity between rhetoric and composition, literature, and creative writing faculty as well as envision new ways to best prepare students for the literacies they will encounter as professionals, academics, and citizens.'

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Adler-Kassner, Linda

Second Committee Member

Elder, Cristyn

Third Committee Member

Houston, Gail




rhetoric, composition, first-year writers, pedagogy, English studies, collaboration

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