Date of Award

Summer 8-12-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

David Cheshier

Second Advisor

Mary Stuckey

Third Advisor

Patricia Davis

Fourth Advisor

Greg Dickinson


In this dissertation spatial arrangement and placement are considered par excellence among the instrumental functions of rhetoric. I unsettle the canon of arrangement in consideration of the spatial turn. Approaching space by way of arrangement brings to bear a different range of phenomena and is a departure from the prevailing practices of existing scholarship on rhetorical memory places. Rhetorical arrangements of space, their deep structure and underlying coherence in public discourse, are contingent and unstable. Arrangements of space widely circulating in public discourse furnish provisional order to orient life, politics, and planning. Arrangements of space have inherent thresholds, limits periodically exposed and contested in public discourse warranting displacement. Despite displacement, traces of past arrangements of space are preserved in public documents and leave lasting impressions on the built environment. Accordingly, space may be viewed as a layered rhetorical document; a work in progress whose surface writing has recorded over imperfectly erased remnants of earlier drafts. Former arrangements of space and their displacement may be uncovered and interpreted by the critic.

The methodology I develop in this dissertation, a rhetorical cartography, entails evaluating numerous arrangements and displacements of space across time. I analyze arrangements and displacements of Atlanta’s urban space to demonstrate the methodological import of a rhetorical cartography. Rhetorical invention and (re)arrangement of Atlanta is the city’s most enduring and pronounced characteristic, aggressively made and remade through forms of boosterism that has been labeled the “Atlanta Spirit.” The first chapter details rhetorical invention and arrangement of Atlanta as a regional railroad center, recognized as the “Gate City of the South.” The second chapter introduces pivotal displacement of Atlanta as urban space became centrally rearranged within the logics of race, as the “City Too Busy To Hate.” In the third chapter I focus on arrangements of Atlanta as an “International City,” linked with discourses of global economics and multiculturalism. The fourth chapter analyzes recent rearrangement as “Sustainable Atlanta,” linked to environmental discourses, with ecological and planetary scope. The cartography evinces the rhetorical vitality, multiplicity, and openness of Atlanta’s urban space.


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