Falling Into the Rhetorical Black Hole: Navigating Language, Terms, and Rhetoricity in Madness and Disability
Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Language enables communities to develop meaning and interpretations of words. Language practices and meanings can change through and with discourse among communities. This rhetorical thesis expands on Catherine Prendergast’s theory of the rhetorical black hole — a phenomenon where folks can find themselves without the means to operate rhetorically, as some audiences are unwilling to engage. I argue the rhetorical black hole is not a binary, and I call for further considerations of intersectionality in understanding the impacts of the rhetorical black hole. James A. Berlin’s New Rhetoric is used to demonstrate the meaning making power of terms and language use. I examine community members’ — Harriet McBryde Johnson, Margret Price, Geoffrey Reaume — use of terms and discourse throughout my argument. This project furthers the field’s understanding of rhetorical black holes and considers how individuals and communities can use language practices as forms of resistance to develop their rhetoricity.
Wyatt, Taylor, "Falling Into the Rhetorical Black Hole: Navigating Language, Terms, and Rhetoricity in Madness and Disability" (2023). All Graduate Plan B and other Reports. 1708.
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