English, Department of


First Advisor

Shari Stenberg

Second Advisor

Stacey Waite

Third Advisor

Deborah Minter

Date of this Version

Spring 3-2017


Beare, Zachary. “Apologies for Cross-Posting Composing Disciplinary Affects and Conflicts on the WPA Listserv.” Diss. University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2017.


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: English, Under the Supervision of Professor Shari Stenberg. Lincoln, Nebraska: March, 2017

Copyright (c) 2017 Zachary Beare


Drawing on theories of counterpublics, online communication, and affect, this dissertation argues that the Writing Program Administrators Listserv (WPA-L) functions as an important site of disciplinary knowledge-making and theory-building for the field of Composition and Rhetoric. The dissertation examines the WPA-L as a discursive space in which members of the discipline build community, debate pressing issues, and strategize how best to advocate for their individual and collective interests. At the same time that these qualities reveal how the listserv functions as counterpublic space for the discipline at large, the dissertation argues that sub-disciplinary counterpublics made up of individuals marginalized within the field (graduate students, part-time and contingent faculty, two-year college specialists) can make use of the democratic nature of this digital platform to speak back to more powerful segments of the field. Thus, I argue that the WPA-L, gives voice to individuals not often afforded access to speak in more traditionally-authorized platforms of knowledge-making like peer-reviewed journals and monographs. In crafting this argument, I investigate the rhetorical moves employed by listserv participants in the three most active WPA-L threads of 2015 (examining a total of 180 listserv email messages). The dissertation concludes by reflecting on how the WPA-L embodies many qualities valued in the pedagogical theories of the field of Composition and Rhetoric.

Advisor: Shari Stenberg