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V. Jo Hsu

V. Jo Hsu

Ph.D. Candidate

Department of English


The focus of my dissertation makes me very conscious, even here, of the word “I.” My research emerges from that discomfort, probing the conventions that have shaped the ways we write and read about the self in academic discourse. Beginning in the field of English studies, my self-conscious “I” investigates the different ways scholars in Rhetoric and Composition have celebrated or censured personal writing. I ask how the “personal” is defined on each occasion and what forms of speech and silence these practices create. Then drawing from other disciplines (including psychology, autobiography studies, sociology), I search for an approach to writing and critiquing autobiography that accounts for the “self” growing and changing over time, and that uses that dynamism to challenge reductive tendencies in identity-based discourse.