Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Gwendolen A. Gorzelsky


This project examines César Chávez's writing during his work in the Community Service Organization in the 1950s to understand hybrid literacies and agency as an embodied aspect of literacy. Using a theoretical framework grounded in embodied cognition, this dissertation develops the concept of discursive readiness potential to describe agency as a capacity to act in discursive situations that emerges from one's embodied practice of literacies. The project explores Chávez's discourse genealogy through the first thirty-five years of his life in order to define lifeworld Discourse as an emergent hybridity that accounts for one's capacity to act based on one's history of sedimented literacy practices. The project also looks at a case study of Chávez genre use in Oxnard, California in 1957 in order to understand how genre blending across discourse communities emerges as an embodied literate practice. Finally, this dissertation offers suggestions for taking up the project's core concepts in composition pedagogy.