"Naming More of What We Know: Critical Memoirs & the Ecological Metaphor as a Threshold Concept in Writing" contributes to the work begun by Adler-Kassner and Wardle to gather and name Writing Studies' body of disciplinary knowledge as "threshold concepts." This thesis answers their call to engage in the ongoing development of threshold concepts by offering an additional critical construct: Writing as ecological. To explicitly acknowledge that writing is ecological is an essential addition to the content of our knowledge because it (1) meets the threshold-concept criteria adapted from Meyer and Land (2003), (2) establishes a codified, embodied, 3-dimensional system of knowledge management which corrects many flattened metaphors Writing Studies currently employs, and is (3) already ubiquitous in our scholarship. The exigence for this argument is established in two ways: (a) Through an analysis of that ubiquity and the ecological metaphor's origins from 1980 to present; and (b) through an autoethnographic illustration of ecological embodiment through memoir. Though framed through the disciplinary frameworks with which I am best versed, Composition, Rhetoric, and Literacy Studies, this project's implications address all Writing Studies factions. Written in two major parts, this work first establishes a theoretical foundation for threshold concepts, for the ecological metaphor, and for personal narrative as an embodied means of expression worthy of analysis. The latter half is delivered as a series of memoir vignettes, each exemplifying through storytelling some of the many ways in which writing is ecological. Ultimately, this project hopes to establish a symbiotic relationship between threshold concepts and the ecological metaphor. Through this symbiosis, naming and teaching writing ecologies as a threshold concept negotiates an explicit corrective to linear habits of thought and our often problematic boundary-creating tendencies through a deeper understanding of the ways in which writing is fluid, complex, and networked.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Writing and Rhetoric
English; Rhetoric and Communication
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Cooper, Loren, "Naming More of What We Know: Critical Memoirs & the Ecological Metaphor as a Threshold Concept in Writing" (2020). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 200.