Date of Award

Summer 6-25-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Elizabeth Sanders Lopez

Second Advisor

Baotong Gu

Third Advisor

Tomasz Tabako


This dissertation focuses on the potential empowerment writing has among a homeless community in Atlanta, Georgia. Through the participation in a newly created writing workshop and a street newspaper in that community, the narrative and communication among writing participants demonstrate negotiations of self-identification as public and private writers and the situational influence writing has on their lives.

The study adds to the “public turn” of writing instruction with the intention of helping to bridge the gap between traditional composition pedagogy in academia and such education in outside community. That participatory instruction reinforces the notion that writing and rhetorical performances can effect positive change in individual lives beyond that institutional space.