Date of Award

Spring 5-14-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Moving Image Studies

First Advisor

Greg Smith

Second Advisor

Ethan Tussey

Third Advisor

Kathryn Wilson

Fourth Advisor

Shawn Powers


This project complicates and expands upon the Genettian concept of paratext, focusing on paratextual functionality and meaning-making practices related to the development of American mass media during the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. Utilizing Ellen McCracken’s “interior” and “exterior” pathways as a basis for paratextual vector analysis, this dissertation examines paratextual functionality in four case studies focusing on the late 19th-century newspaper advertising of John Wanamaker, the WWII-era radio serial Captain Midnight, the 1950s television program The Disneyland Story, and the comment section of Breitbart News during the second decade of the 21st century.

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Available for download on Friday, April 15, 2022