Date of Award:

8-2019

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

English

Advisor/Chair:

Rylish Moeller

Co-Advisor/Chair:

Jared Colton

Third Advisor:

Rebecca Walton

Abstract

As a field intricately connected to human experience and interaction, technical and professional communication (TPC) is historically, ethically, and practically tooled to address issues of equality, diversity, and access. While these important issues have not always been the focal point of TPC, the recent turn toward social justice has scholars asking critical questions about how users access information, how specific design practices may privilege some and disenfranchise others, and how we can be more inclusive across our communication practices. In this dissertation, I argue that it is within reach of TPC to address the specific problem of access—the gap between what we believe to be accessible and what is actually accessible—and to begin to change specific norms (beliefs, standards, guidelines, etc.) that guide our practices. We change norms, or the typical way we do things, by exposing them, disrupting them, and developing new, more inclusive practices. I argue that we can create new norms that are liberated from unjust assumptions of embodied ability and include accessibility as a normalized part of the design process.

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Available for download on Thursday, August 01, 2024

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