Date of Award

Summer 8-7-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Middle-Secondary Education and Instructional Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Amy Flint

Second Advisor

Dr. Teri Holbrook

Third Advisor

Dr. Michelle Zoss

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Peggy Albers


This dissertation is an a/r/tographic inquiry (Irwin & Springgay, 2008) that explores postmodern picturebooks and writing theory. Postmodern picturebooks have been described as texts that blur traditional literary boundaries and text-image relationships, while employing devices like metafiction and playfulness (Goldstone, 2002; Sipe, 2008). As meaning becomes more ambiguous, readers are positioned as co-constructors of meaning (Serafini, 2005). Research has shown students enjoy reading postmodern picturebooks and constructing meaningful transactions despite the complex nature of these texts (McGuire, Belfatti, & Ghiso, 2008; Pantaleo, 2004, 2007, 2008), but few have begun to explore how these texts are written. Therefore, I used a/r/tography (Irwin & Springgay, 2008) to theorize about the relationship between these texts and what it means to write.

As a method of inquiry, a/r/tography is an arts-based approach to research that is interested in how artistic practices produce meaning and a/r/tographers use art to “construct the very ‘thing’ [they] are attempting to make sense of” (Springgay, 2008, p. 159). In this study, I wrote and illustrated a postmodern picturebook and interpreted how this experience generated understandings about what it means to write. In response to the process model of writing (Flower & Hayes, 1981), the data led to representations that offer new perspectives on contemporary writing theory, in particular, the interpretive, public, and situated nature of writing (Kent, 1999). As a result, I use theories of metaphor (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980/2003; Lakoff & Turner, 1989) to critique writing process theory (Elbow, 1973, 1981; Flower & Hayes, 1981) and propose that a/r/tographic inquiry creates openings for new possibilities within the post-process movement (Kent, 1999) by demonstrating how a writer’s evolving questions (Irwin & Springgay, 2008) relate to writing pedagogy.