English, Department of


Date of this Version

Summer 7-2-2012


Rogers, Erica E. "Disciplinary Permeations: Complicating the 'Public' and the 'Private' Dualism in Composition and Rhetoric." MA thesis University of Nebraska, 2012.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Masters of Arts, Major: English, Under the Supervision of Professor Deborah W. Minter. Lincoln, Nebraska: July 2012

Copyright (c) 2012 Erica E. Rogers


As Composition and Rhetoric rose in disciplinary status and academic legitimacy the discourse practice of negation, the positioning of texts in oppositional binaries that set the “new” over the “old,” the “novel” over the “familiar,” became embedded in academic tradition, seeming to be an inherited part of scholarship instead of an individual’s rhetorical choice and deliberate ethos strategy. Negation, when one idea or set of ideas constructed by another is critiqued, advocated, and/or redeveloped by another scholar, is a discourse practice firmly established in the Rhetorical Tradition as part of Socratic dialogues, reappears in “modern rhetoric”, and remains today as the standard. To practice negation, despite its dialect violence, is to be the quintessential qualitative researcher, even as negation proves limiting to the trajectory of both logic and the making of new knowledge. Ideas, theories, and their implications are posited as opponents within a competitive market instead of interdependent collaborations building a body of knowledge within the discipline. This qualitative analysis reflects John Muckelbauer’s (2008) invitation to explore an idea/text beyond the “critique, advocate, and/or develop” strategies of negation (Muckelbauer 43) in order to forge “experimental pathways” toward interrelated and collaborative knowledge. By bringing plurality to inquiry, I position knowledge as a postmodern constellation of interrelated ideas instead of a singularity “discovered.” This approach to inquiry and analysis will demonstrate the circuitry, the interrelatedness of meanings, while at the same time reflecting the field’s larger commitments to equity, representation, and social justice that have not yet been reflected within the dominant discourses brokered within the field. Rhetorical choice, even within the professional text, thus becomes personal-public, a permeated dualism at once mapped and traced.

Adviser: Deborah Minter