Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.



Degree Program

English Rhetoric and Composition, PhD

Committee Chair

Johnson, Timothy

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Turner, Joseph

Committee Member

Turner, Joseph

Committee Member

Mattes, Mark

Committee Member

Limbu, Marohang

Author's Keywords

Ambient; nondualism; agency; sandstone; affectability; preoriginary


This dissertation is an attempt to usher in ambient rhetoric that was widely practiced by medieval Indian builders prior to the invasion of the Indian subcontinent by outsiders from the early centuries of the second millennium.


This dissertation develops an ambient rhetoric: a living practice that is more disclosive than communicative, more entangled than intersectional, and more subtle than explicit and evidential. Rather than exploring the symbology, iconography, texture, and artistic integrity of Khajuraho monuments, I claim that Khajuraho monuments aim at convincing visitors with their persuadability and affectability inherent in their material bases, architectural panels, fractal design, allegorical cast, aura of attunement, and the environment in which the monument complex is nestled. Khajuraho groups of monuments in Central India, matchless in their monumentality, dynamic in their adjustment to the shifting socio-politico-cultural landscape in the world, fantastic in their amenability to entanglement, and susceptible to their intra-action with cutting-edge digital tools and technology, have proved to be a vibrant hub for those who—constrained by the deficit model of rhetoric as a logic of supplementation and also by the exploitative and extractive model of rhetoric that valorises human-centric rhetorical approach to persuasive assemblage—venture into exploring the holistic version of the rhetoric predicated on the principle of a third term. The monument complex’s persuadability rests not just on its symbology but on its enduring sandstone that lays the material basis for the construction of its majestic architecture, splendid sculpture, stunning superstructure, gorgeous ground plan, fractal design, strategic placement of the artifacts, the upward projection of the superstructure exposed to the four elements, the lapidary locale of the monuments nestled in an environment that escapes any intelligent guess as to when, how, and why it participates in revealing the monument complex’s rhetoricity.

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