Anxiety in the Archives: The Rhetorics of Knowledge Control and Dissemination in Fact and Fiction

How do you describe a journey that you never intended to start when it turns out that this journey has meant so much more to you than you could ever imagine? How do you sum up neatly–in five pages, or fifteen pages, or twenty-five pages–everything that you have gained because of this unexpected journey? It seems impossible, right?

By the time I had reached the end of my MLS program in 2018, the PhD in Library Science program had been discontinued at TWU. It was only happenstance that led me to apply for the PhD in Rhetoric program instead. I got in (obviously) and started in January of 2019. The last three years has been a wild and very exhausting ride, to say the least.

Because I live a very online life, I have been attempting to somewhat document this journey.

I should probably explain…

The TWU comprehensive exams for the PhD in Rhetoric program recently underwent a change. Prior to Fall 2021 there were three timed written exams. One for the history/theory of rhetoric, one for applied rhetoric and a third exam for our “area of specialization.” This was changed so that there would still be timed written exams for history/theory and applied rhetoric but the third area would now be a portfolio. This portfolio consists of a 20-30 source annotated bibliography, a 15-page literature review, and a 15-page reflective essay on my journey as a scholar. This portfolio is meant to give me a leg up when writing my dissertation prospectus, which comes next.

I’m posting that portfolio here, along with my justification and reading list, in order to demonstrate the process that I have been going through and the ways in which I have been attempting to prove how much I have learned and how much I have grown as a scholar. My particular area of specialization is a hard one to describe in a succinct manner, which is another reason that I have posted these documents.

Too much of academia is shrouded in mystery and byzantine labyrinths. Information is held close and only revealed as one gets deeper in. I don’t like that. In fact, I really despise it. It carries the feeling of secret societies and privileged information. It doesn’t have to be that way. So, this is my journey. These are some of the steps that I have taken to progress along my path towards a doctorate in rhetoric.

Once I have completed my dissertation prospectus (August 2022), I will be posting that here as well.

Third Area Justification and Reading List

Third Area Portfolio:
Annotated Bibliography
Review Essay
Reflective Essay