Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.



Degree Program

English Rhetoric and Composition, PhD

Committee Chair

Kopelson, Karen

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Sheridan, Mary P.

Committee Member

Sheridan, Mary P.

Committee Member

McDonald, Frances

Committee Member

Rhodes, Jacqueline

Author's Keywords

queer rhetoric; archives; new materialism; rhetoric; queer theory


Scholarly conversations across disciplines have asked researchers to consider archive as a site of power—often framed in terms of archives’ potential impact on history and practices of knowledge making more generally. This dissertation contributes to such conversations as they relate to queer archives and material rhetoric, exploring the Williams-Nichols Archive, an LGBTQ archive housed at the University of Louisville. I extend interdisciplinary scholarship to argue for approaching archives as rhetorical emergences rather than as containers or locations for discovery, a perspective that foregrounds the archive and archival practices as the subject of research. Drawing on archival research and oral history interviews, I develop a materialist perspective on the rhetoric of the Williams-Nichols Archive that synthesizes insights from queer rhetoric and new materialism to consider the complex rhetoric involved in the collection, curation, and maintenance of LGBTQ archives. This research is guided by the following primary questions: How have material phenomena—such as collection, circulation, classification, and the physical matter of archival holdings—participated in the Williams-Nichols Archive’s rhetorical emergence? What can this tell us about LGBTQ archives, and how might an attention to these materialities expand understandings of both queer rhetoric and archival theory in our field? Ultimately, I argue that attending to materiality reveals less visible forms of rhetoric and queer archival activism that can expand our understandings of queer rhetoric, material rhetoric, and archives.

Included in

Rhetoric Commons