Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in English


Rhetoric and Composition



First Advisor

Nedra Reynolds


Rhetorical historiography needs to disrupt existing archival arrangements of language differences. These arrangements preserve an ideology of linguistic modernity that effaces and oversimplifies the complex multilingual practices of actual language users. By disrupting the principles of selection and arrangement that make up an archive’s evidential value, rhetorical researchers can undermine ideologies of linguistic modernity and can recover an array of rhetorical resistance strategies that multilinguals have historically taken towards the political and socioeconomic dominance of English. This project does this disruptive work by analyzing the multisitedness of Mount St. Charles, a Catholic high school in Rhode Island. In its original planning and construction, Mount St. Charles was viewed on one hand as part of a system of English-language diocesan high schools and on the other hand as part of a system of French-language écoles des hautes études. The project thus constructs Mount St. Charles as a site of interaction for local linguistic and material economies through which the socioeconomic value of French literacy and English literacy were negotiated in relation to each other. The project opens a space in which researchers in rhetoric and composition can begin to write translingual histories of language difference in the United States. Using the disruptive and multisited methods of this project, other researchers can critically engage the historical suppression of multilingual identifications in the construction of whiteness.



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