Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Ellen Barton


Current scholars in composition and rhetoric emphasize how our worldview perspectives and intellectual positions are animated by our emotional investments, attachments, and commitments. However, despite disciplinary efforts to theorize “the writing subject” in Composition Studies from the 1960s on, I argue the field has yet to develop an integrated cognitive-emotional-motivational construct of the individual writer that comprehensively investigates how an individual’s cognition, emotion, and motivation shapes, and is influenced by, one’s writing process. In my dissertation project, I draw on a range of perspectives from composition studies, neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy to develop a model of the individual writer as an embodied, situated, and invested individual, one that I am calling an individual with a felt life, which I see as constituted by rich mixtures of cognition, emotion, and motivation that construct one’s sense of well-being (quality of life) and reflect one’s personal investments (goals, concerns, commitments) in the world. Since recent theories of human cognition and the emotion process contend that individuals engage with their world based on unconscious and conscious notions of value, or what is judged as important and even imperative to their survival and well-being, my felt life model of writing showcases how this valuation process involves perceiving, evaluating, and often reflecting on the personal meaning and relevance of what is happening in one’s body, mind, or environment during the writing process, as it connects with one’s needs, goals, or concerns within a writing situation or the world more broadly.

Included in

Rhetoric Commons