Mentorship as an Embodied Rhetorical Act: Six Graduate Student Instructors Theorize Equitable Mentorship



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Mentorship as an Embodied Rhetorical Act: Six Graduate Student Instructors Theorize Equitable Mentorship is a transdisciplinary qualitative approach to writing studies research. This dissertation approaches language and identity from theories of rhetoric, applied linguistics, education, Third World feminism, and transnational feminism. Together, these theories triangulate mentorship as intertwined with language and identity—language is critical for learning and meaning-making and a product of socially constructed identities. Therefore, understanding how mentorship (professional meaning-making) happens requires contextualizing beliefs and practices around language and identity. Based on this theory of language, this study examines mentorship, as an embodied rhetorical act for graduate student instructors (GSIs) from the perspectives of six Women of Color (WOC) GSIs. I developed this study in response to my own experiences as a Chicana GSI in writing studies, as well as issues of representation of WOC in writing studies that can be linked to problems with mentorship. The study’s methodologies draw on testimoniando (a collaborative dialogic approach to research grounded in critical race theory (CRT) and Latino critical race Theory (LatCrit)), Third World feminism, transnational feminism, and a translingual paradigm of language. I collected data with six WOC GSI participants in four phases: Phase 1: All six participants wrote critical reflections on their experiences with mentorship. Phase 2: All six participants participated in semi-structured interviews that followed up on their critical reflections. Phase 3: Participants participated in a focus group to collaboratively analyze each other’s critical reflections. Phase 4: Participants participated in debriefing interviews that examined participants’ experiences in the study as well as what participants learned about mentorship in the study. The dissertation concludes by offering strategies for embedding anti-racist theories and activist theories of language and literacy into writing programs; and implications for implementing collaborative dialogic approaches into writing program assessment.

Embargo status: Restricted until 09/2028. To request the author grant access, click on the PDF link to the left.



writing studies, writing program administration, writing program assessment, mentorship, composition, rhetoric, positionality