Writing from the Border: Frontier Rhetoric and Rhetorical Education at University of Arizona and University of New Mexico, 1885-1910
histories of composition
histories of rhetoric
AdvisorRamírez, Cristina D.
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.
AbstractThis dissertation examines the histories of the University of Arizona (UA) and the University of New Mexico (UNM) before 1910. This project brings a trans-hemispheric approach to composition history by developing a theory of "frontier rhetoric" as a lens for analysis. Used to describe the rhetorical strategies that emphasize narratives of progress to disenfranchise others, frontier rhetoric allows us to examine the ways in which colonialism is embedded within institutions and reproduced by curriculum and policies. In the case of UA, institutional stakeholders envisioned their university as an Americanization project that both opened up Arizona’s natural resources to profit, while creating a citizenry devoted to defending their country. In the case of UNM, we see a subtler manifestation of frontier rhetorics, such as in the way Spanish was emphasized for the purposes of sending multilingual teachers out into the primarily Spanish speaking regions of the territory. An analysis of the students' curricular and extra-curricular writing from this time shows that students had the opportunity to challenge and resist frontier rhetorics through newspaper writing. The curricular and extra-curricular use of public genres such as newspapers allows students to take a more active role in negotiating their own understandings of citizenship and community engagement. Finally, this dissertation connects these histories to the present by discussing the ways in which writing program administrators can use frontier rhetoric to assess the inclusivity of their programs and adopt a translingual orientation in an effort to combat monolingual mentalities. This history makes visible the ways in which colonial legacies are embedded within our educational institutions, challenges the Eurocentric tendencies of composition histories, and offers new perspectives on the ways in which rhetorical education can both reproduce and resist oppressive attitudes about language, race, and culture.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Rhetoric, Composition & the Teaching of English
Degree GrantorUniversity of Arizona
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