Date of Award

Summer 2022

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

English Language and Literatures

First Advisor

Byron Hawk

Abstract

The Rhetoric of Health and Medicine (RHM) is a growing body of scholarship that pulls from technical communication, rhetorical theory, and a number of other disciplines to inquire about the capacities of rhetoric at the intersection of medical practitioners and scholars, the medical humanities, and the publics they inform and treat. Among RHM scholars there is a consensus that the field’s methodological diversity is one of its greatest strengths; indeed, field leaders articulate one of RHM’s exigencies as “encouraging methodological collaboration and experimentation” (Melonçon and Scott, Methodologies 4). This dissertation takes up these calls with the introduction of shifting, a research strategy for RHM that thrives on experimentation and collaboration. I argue that the development of quasi-objects for composition produces a new methodology that allows RHM scholars to productively entangle our discipline with work from various other fields. I argue that shifting and quasi-objects allow us to not just re-envision RHM, but to enact multiple versions of its past and present in order to usher the field into unintended futures.

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