Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.



Committee Chair

Wolfe, Joanna Lynn

Author's Keywords

Identity; Discourse theory; Transfer; Police; Hegemonic masculinity


Police training; Self-perception; Discourse analysis


This dissertation is an analysis of how the performance of identity affects the possibilities for the transfer of writing strategies. It begins with a literature review of the existing research on transfer within the field of composition and posits that an undertheorized understanding of identity may be leading to misunderstandings related to the transfer of knowledge. It then provides a framework for understanding the performance of identity developed through James Paul Gee's Discourse theory and provides a framework for understanding and identifying Discourse conflicts related to the performance of identity. After providing an overview of the research site, the Administrative Officers’ Course (AOC) held at the Southern Police Institute (SPI), and the research participants, it provides an analysis of how identity performance at both the student and instructor level affected the possibilities for productive or unproductive transfer. In the conclusion, I propose an approach to performing an instructor identity that may enable more productive transfer. The dissertation is divided into five chapters, providing a theoretical introduction, an overview of the research methodology, analysis of the performance of identity at both the student and instructor level, and a summary of research findings with potential pedagogical applications. The first chapter provides a literature overview of existing research on transfer and a framework for understanding the performance of identity and conflicts related to it. The second chapter provides an overview of the research site, its history, its demographics, the courses offered as part of the AOC, the student participants of the study, and the methodology used as part of the research study. The third chapter focuses on the experiences of the student participants, detailing their experiences with the writing experiences and illustrating how the performance of identity affected how they transferred or failed to transfer writing strategies from other contexts. The fourth chapter focuses on the pedagogies of my teacher participants, including their understandings of potential transfer conflict, efforts to ease that conflict, and the types of identities they situated in the classroom. The fifth chapter summarizes these findings and provides a potential pedagogy to help minimize such negative conflicts of identity.