English, Department of


First Advisor

Stacey Waite

Date of this Version



Johnson, Anne. Drawing Them In: Phlebotomic Pedagogy. MA Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2018.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: English, Under the Supervision of Professor Stacey Waite. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2018

Copyright (c) 2018 Anne K. Johnson


This thesis employs a critical analysis of phlebotomy, or drawing blood, to serve as a lens through which to examine pedagogy, power, and student vulnerability in first-year composition courses. Palpable similarities exist between the teacher of composition and the drawer of blood, and this comparison reveals the normalized but troubling power dynamics housed in medical and educational institutions. Furthermore, this thesis examines the resulting dynamics produced by the institutional power imbalance in both the first-year writing classroom and the blood draw. These dynamics primarily include, but are not limited to intimacy, terror, and aggression. Through an analysis of the first-year writing classroom as similar to the blood draw, this thesis outlines a new kind of teaching persona of teacher/phlebotomist, which wonders about the potential fruitfulness of viewing the teaching of writing as akin to drawing blood: an intimately and intensely personal social transaction or set of actions that necessarily demand great vulnerability from the one without institutional power. By engaging a conscious realization of student vulnerability as they are asked to reconceive their writing (and selves), the power dynamics might be disrupted in a potentially productive way.

Advisor: Stacey Waite