Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


English Rhetoric and Composition


Helen Foster


Un/Commonplaces is guided by a broad and fundamental question of inquiry regarding writing and disciplinary research: how can some of the predominant ways that our discipline has approached writing be retheorized to better approximate the complexity of contemporary rhetorical knowledge work? A corollary inquiry explores the resonances with English Studies that persist--and seeks to uncover how they persist--in our field. I argue that we can negotiate such issues by tracing and troubling some of our core disciplinary commonplaces, those commonsense notions and practices too frequently and easily adopted from English Studies and perpetuated within the often tumultuous and hegemonic relationship between our disciplines. I ground my research in these commonplaces, tracing their adoption and proliferation, while arguing that their long term effects have been and continue to be potentially stifling to knowledge work in our field.

Specifically, this project examines commonplace notions of text and intertextuality, the idea that "writing is recursive," the disciplinary identification and preoccupation with composition rather than writing, and the historical privileging of pedagogy over (and often in lieu of) curriculum development. In tracing these commonplaces, I also work to establish new directions for our research that are sometimes grounded in our own, often overlooked disciplinary theory, while also moving outside of the humanities in search of cross-disciplinary collaboration.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

201 pages

File Format


Rights Holder

Brian J. McNely

Included in

Rhetoric Commons