AuthorSharp, Leta McGaffey
Committee ChairKimmea Hea, Amy
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractCreative nonfiction is abundant and popular. There are many names and definitions for this fluid, multimodal genre, which has played a role in its marginality in academia. This dissertation examines creative nonfiction in composition, creative writing, and journalism. I argue that distinct beliefs and values of each discipline have led to compartmentalized, disciplinary-specific definitions and uses of creative nonfiction. To understand why this is, and to develop and a cross-disciplinary understanding, I use Amy Devitt's rhetorical genre theory to illuminate cultural beliefs and values that influence the names, definitions, subgenres, and views of the genre in each field. A rhetorical understanding of genre reveals the purpose of creative nonfiction, the themes it conveys, and perhaps why it is so persuasive and powerful. In examining composition I analyze the historical development of creative nonfiction, its definitions, and current beliefs and values about teaching composition. I argue composition limits its view of creative nonfiction by too often equating it with the personal essay. A personal-expressive pedagogy would help teach creative nonfiction. In creative writing I analyze the definitions of creative nonfiction and the AWP's statements about creative writing education. I argue creative writing has inclusive definitions, if not rhetorical, but the culture of literature limits the genre for students. A strength of creative writing is the teaching of craft that I argue is beneficial for teaching creative nonfiction. In journalism I analyze the culture of objectivism from which literary journalism emerged. I argue literary journalists have developed definitions that identify the purpose of literary journalism and narrative form. I express concerns about the separation of journalism from composition and creative writing that has limited discussions about creative nonfiction and literary journalism. Finally, I argue each discipline should value one another's views and agree on dissensus instead of focusing on denying one another or trying to find a single name and definition. I suggest narrative nonfiction as a subset of creative nonfiction that would benefit students in composition. Creative nonfiction engages students in writing and examining the sociopolitical world from a personal perspective, which aids them in becoming writers for life.
Degree ProgramRhetoric, Composition & the Teaching of English