Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2011

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Richard C. Marback


As the culmination of a two-year long Internet ethnographic study of three separate sites, I use examples of women and minorities fighting against discrimination online to explore the power structures inherent to networks and how these might affect classroom practice. I will show how our ordinary assumptions in rhetoric and composition as well as computers and writing about the necessity of safe spaces in fostering communication about gender and race and safety for people of color and women online might actually be harming the rhetorical effectiveness of these writings. To focus this discussion, I will develop three case studies and in the concluding chapter I will offer suggestions as to how instructors can use this culture to their advantage and get students involved in techniques for Internet invention in the classroom that they may already participate in outside of it.