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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation-ISU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of English: English Studies

First Advisor

Lee Brasseur


My dissertation, examines the intersections of technical communication, disability studies, feminist theories and medical rhetorics. Specifically, I look to extend the current focus on accessibility and inclusion within the field and discipline of technical communication, by proposing the development and application of a feminist disability methodological framework. I hope to demonstrate how this framework can be applied to both research and pedagogical approaches in order to increase the apparency and accountability for furthering socially informed access and inclusion in multiple environments, including the classroom and the public sphere.

In order to demonstrate the pedagogical and research benefits of applying this framework, I will discuss case studies in Chapters III, IV, and V. Within Chapter III I will present a research focused case study that explores how technical communication in the healthcare industry can perpetuate traditional hierarchical power dynamics. This case study will engage with digital, qualitative rhetorical research methods to analyze the technical communication documents within a specific breast cancer clinical trial: the

Herceptin trials. Then, I will place the results of the initial rhetorical analysis of the clinical trial technical documents from the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) into a conversation with texts that depict the embodied experiential knowledges (qualitative data) of the participants of the clinical trial. The next case study, presented in Chapter IV argues for curricular and pedagogical strategies that are informed by a feminist disability studies framework by examining the impacts of the required American's with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodation statements within university course syllabi on students and faculty. The final case study, presented in Chapter V, explores the benefits of applying an intersectional pedagogical framework that is situated within a technology-focused course. Specifically, this chapter will trace the findings from a pedagogical case study that I conducted within a course at Illinois State University entitled "Multimodal Composition: Texts, Modes, and Inclusion." In addition, this chapter will also demonstrate how this pedagogical case study (in a multimodal composition course) extends and transfers to a technical communication course

Ultimately, my dissertation works to: 1) Make more apparent the benefits of intersectional methodologies (combining lenses of inquiry), such as a feminist disability methodology, that can, I hope to prove, further the pursuits of social justice, and 2) create a stronger focus on deconstructing social barriers of exclusion through an emphasis on the valuing of embodied experiential knowledges and patient narratives.


Imported from ProQuest SmyserFauble_ilstu_0092E_10556.pdf


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