Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.



Degree Program

English Rhetoric and Composition, PhD

Committee Chair

Sheridan, Mary P.

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Williams, Bronwyn T.

Committee Member

Williams, Bronwyn T.

Committee Member

Brueggemann, Brenda Jo

Committee Member

Miller, Carolyn R.

Committee Member

Nasraoui, Olfa

Author's Keywords

hyperlinks; citations; publics; rhetoric; composition


This dissertation addresses two deceptively discrete questions: (1) how academics might reach wider public audiences, and (2) how and why people cite the way they do. It takes citation practices as a telling though often tacit practice, one through which it is possible trace the contours of a larger story about how writing is changing as it moves online. That story: Writers increasingly reflect goals of provocation, of attracting a wider and potentially global audience, of spreading a message rapidly and virally, of responding to recent events and conversations, of sharing sources and resources. To explore these questions, this dissertation forwards a mixed-methods study of citation and writing practices in three different sites: In popular press web writing (on Slate and Newsweek—Chapter II), in traditional academic print text in rhetoric and composition (in CCC and College English—Chapter III), and in academic webtext online (on Kairos and Computers and Composition Online—Chapter IV). Chapter II conducts a rhetorical corpus analysis of Slate and Newsweek, seeking transcendent citation practices within each journal and considering how those practices (and other writing practices) and others correlate (or not) with social sharing; I then report on interviews with authors from Slate, aiming to elucidate those findings. Chapter III conducts a rhetorical corpus analysis of CCC and College English, seeking an understanding of citation practices in the field of rhetoric and composition more traditionally, more historically; as in the previous chapter, these findings are commented upon and elucidated by authors/editors of each journal. Chapter IV considers hyperlink and parenthetical citation practices in webtext journals Kairos and Computers and Composition Online, via discourse-based interviews with several authors and editors for each journal. Chapter V draws parallels among my investigations and ultimately concludes with a proposal for a new kind of hytpertextual academic publication aimed at “the public”; it offers, at its close, some documents intended to sketch the shape of such a publication, including a “Rhetoric of Hypermedia” style guide for authors.