Identifier

etd-07092008-231611

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Communication Studies

Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

This study analyses and performs a series of histories about a semi-abandoned Victorian house located in downtown Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I engage Gregory Ulmer’s inter-discursive and inter-subjective process of historiography, the mystory, as a way of viewing and doing research. Mystory allows for research through diverse perspectives of professional, popular and personal discourses, which activates the pleasures and problems of knowledge production by urging invention and creative expression. Significance is discovered in less determined, more localized, ways of knowing that avoid fixing the house in terms of predetermined “historic” values. Material culture and archives like the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps discussed in Chapter Three are viewed as active or performance processes that affect and are affected by the shifting circumstances of history and culture. The partialities of all language forms function as miniatures of what they represent. Texts and performances are constructed through bricolage of the materials gathered. These metonymic expressions call attention to certain details, while eliding or ignoring others, and are essential to the knowledge and structures produced from them. In constructing 310 Convention on the page and stage, I understand performance in Richard Schechner’s terms as “restored behavior,” an action or expression that draws on and refers to its past. I call on Martin Heidegger’s notions of dwelling and building as fundamental states of human experience through which we learn about the world around us, make meaning from it, and understand our place(s) in it. Gaston Bachelard furthers the Heideggerian impulse with topophilia, or the desire to protect and preserve loved spaces if only in imagination. Jacques Derrida provides ways to structure arguments though chora, the spacing of text upon the page, and also contributes to the archive as a site that overflows with excess through its collection, composition, and coding. Through these and other discourses, I discover and produce ways to view this “insignificant” house differently by acknowledging its many histories. I also recognize how performance on the page and stage, already embedded in loss through what cannot be restored, reflects the possibilities and limitations of its metonymic expression.

Date

2008

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Ruth Laurion Bowman

Included in

Communication Commons

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