Breaks, Samples, and Sites for Cyphers: Remixing the Administration of Writing
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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EmbargoRelease after 05/02/2021
AbstractThis dissertation forwards a DJ-based hip-hop methodology as an intervention within the discourses of Writing Program Administration (WPA). It is a response to calls from the larger field of rhetoric and composition as well as the sub field of WPA for work that theorizes through disciplinary issues of whiteness, suggesting that hip-hop as a culture founded within the same western discourse of the academy has the capacity to interrogate the practices that reproduce and uphold hegemony. I argue that hip-hop can only accomplish this when it is first theorized through a synthesis of hip-hop feminism and critical theory since its proximity to dominant discourse must be unpacked and theorized rather than abandoned. This project also centers on hip-hop’s remixing capabilities as it argues that critiques should include an element of extension and creation as a willful ignorance or removal from the effects of dominant culture might be theoretically impossible. Instead, it argues that the critiques of WPA discourse offers occasions for compositions that are sensitive to differences in cultural location. The central argument in Breaks, Samples, and Sites for Cyphers is that the methodologies that guide practice and production within WPA must consider the intricacies of cultural location. The discourse of WPA is often presented as a neutral endeavor with practices that discipline administrators, students, teachers, and staff so that they might uphold middle-class, white norms. A hip-hop methodology has the potential to disrupt this practice by offering remixes of writing and identity that are sensitive to a variety of social and political contexts. The DJ is then specifically utilized as an image of a critical writing administrator due to their ability to invite spacious compositions from a variety of identities, packaging and presenting those compositions in ways that might speak back towards legacies of whiteness within the field. In chapter two, I begin the discussion by defining my hip-hop methodology through a synthesis of hip-hop feminism and critical theory in order to explore hip-hop’s potential to call out and speak back towards a dominating discourse. I then center on the hip-hop DJ, recognizing that while they share hip-hop as a guiding epistemology, the practices within the culture all have their own guiding logics. I emphasize the DJ as they closely parallel the writing administrator through their emphasis on administering and inviting writing occasions. Chapter three focuses on composition curriculum realized through the WPA Outcomes Statement, a document created by the Council of Writing Program Administrators that focuses on naming and normalizing expectations for the first-year writing class. Through a hip-hop discourse analysis of the document, I argue for remixed definitions for writing and rhetoric within the class that are more sensitive of difference. I continue the dialogue of difference and identity in chapter four, arguing for cypher logics to impact the ways in which identity is handled within the field. I end the discussion in chapter five by pointing out that while hip-hop offers a generative intervention that can help in the critiquing of whiteness in WPA, it alone cannot be the chosen culture to do so. What is needed are continual theories and methodologies that come from various cultural locations that can all aid in the work of challenging and critiquing problematic discourses in rhetoric and composition.
Degree ProgramGraduate College