Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.



Degree Program

English Rhetoric and Composition, PhD

Committee Chair

Williams, Bronwyn

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Kelderman, Frank

Committee Member

Kelderman, Frank

Committee Member

Olinger, Andre

Committee Member

Duffy, John

Author's Keywords

Affect; writing center; listening; empathy; power; authority


The question of how to ethically teach, learn, and engage in an evolving world remains one of the most longstanding investigations in writing studies scholarship. Examining some of the most foundational frameworks for writing pedagogy reveals that their underlying motivations share common concerns for how to learn from and empower students. This dissertation builds from this trend and foregrounds the observations, stories, and experiences of consultants and writers at the University of Louisville’s Writing Center through a qualitative study that is informed by case study methodology and collaborative action research. I draw on primary data collected from one focus group with ten writing center consultants, ten recorded writing center consultations, ten post-consultation semi-structured interviews with consultants, ten post-consultation semi-structured interviews with writers, and thirty-eight mood inventory surveys to argue for the promising utility of “hospitality” as a theoretical framework to inform ethical writing pedagogy. More specifically, I utilize affect theory, listening studies, and strategic contemplation to make sense of how hospitality informed the experiences of writing center consultants and their writers and use hospitality as a framework to interpret the ethics of tutorial practice. The results of this project offer three major contributions. First, I argue that hospitality functions as helpful conceptual framework allowing tutors to acknowledge issues of power, authority, and expertise in their appointments and consider how to responsibly navigate these realities based on hospitality’s guiding ethics. Second, I suggest that hospitality’s underlying values of rhetorical listening and attention to the emotional aspects of learning and teaching proved influential in helping consultants cultivate more healthy and generative affective positions towards their writers. Finally, I offer implications to this research, suggesting hospitality’s applications in higher-education classroom contexts and well as a social praxis for writing studies scholars.