What I Read Fall Semester

A new semester starts on Monday, and although I’m looking forward to getting back to campus, settling into a schedule, and seeing my friends and colleagues again, I’m also dreading the fact that my reading for pleasure time will be gone.  I really haven’t read much during my break.  The pile on my nightstand has only been diminished by three, and I long to continue to relax with an interesting and engaging book on the couch during any free moment I have.  Alas, that will not be continuing.

But as I look back over my first semester as a Ph.D. student, I realize I have read a lot, even if the pages haven’t been fun or literary or relaxing.  Here’s what I read this semester.

read this semester


Excerpts from Rhetoric by Aristotle

The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women (2010) by Elisabeth Badinter

Rhetorical Theory: An Introduction (2006) by Timothy Borchers

Innovative Approaches to Teaching Technical Communication (2004) Eds. Tracy Bridgeford, Karla Saari Kitalong, Dickie Selfe

The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined All Women (2004) by Susan Douglas and Meredith Michaels

Teaching Technical Communication: Critical Issues for the Classroom (2004) by Ed. James M. Dubinsky

Rhetorical Criticism: Exploration and Practice (2009) by Sonja K. Foss

21st Century Motherhood: Experience, Identity, Policy, Agency (2010) Ed. Andrea O’Reilly

Of Woman Born (1975/1986) by Adrienne Rich

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2010) by Rebecca Skloot

Digital Literacy for Technical Communication: 21st Century Theory and Practice (2010) Ed. Rachel Spilka

Communicative Practices in Workplaces and the Professions: Cultural Perspectives on the Regulation of Discourse and Organizations (2007) Eds. Mark Zachry and Charlotte Thralls


“Gender Issues in Technical Communication Studies: An Overview of the Implications for the Profession, Research, and Pedagogy” by Jo Allen

“Working with People” by Carol M. Barnum

“Positioning Technical Communication for the Creative Economy” by Linn K. Bekins and Sean D. Williams

“Queen of the Mommy Bloggers” by Lisa Belkin

“Reading Theory and Persuasive Business Communications: Guidelines for Writers” by Nancy Roundy Blyler

“The Best Words in the Best Order” by Laura Bonetta

“Feminist Theory, Audience Analysis, and Verbal and Visual Representation in a Technical Communication Writing Task” by Deborah S. Bosley

“The Mirage of Professional Gender Equality” by  David R. Butcher

“Considering ‘The Professional’ in Communication Studies: Implications for Theory and Research Within and Beyond the Boundaries of Organization Communication” by George Cheney and Karen Lee Ashcraft

“Content Management and the Separation of Presentation and Content” by Dave Clark
“Shifting the Center: Race, Class, and Feminist Theorizing about Motherhood” by Patricia Hill Collins

“The Meaning of Motherhood in Black Culture and Mother-Daughter Relationships” by Patricia Hill Collins

‘Kate Middleton and the Great Housewife Myth” by Stephanie Coontz

“The Evolution of American Families” by Stephanie Coontz

“Why Is ‘Having It All’ Just a Women’s Issue?” by Stephanie Coontz

“The Radical Potential in Lesbian Mothering of Daughters” by Baba Copper

“Review of the Literature” by John W. Creswell

“Where We Are Now” by Ann Crittenden

“What Does Todd Akin Think ‘Legitimate Rape’ Is?” by Amy Davidson

“Racism, Birth Control, and Reproductive Rights” by Angela Davis

“Rhetorics of Alternative Media in an Emerging Epidemic: SARS, Censorship, and Extra-Institutional Risk Communication” by Huiling Ding

“Gender, Technology, and the History of Technical Communication” by Katherine T. Durack

“The Sexual Politics of Sickness” by Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English

“Professional Identities: What Is Professional about Professional Communication?” by Brenton Faber

“Rhetorical Analysis” by Jeanne Fahnestock and Marie Secor

“Emergent Feminist Technical Communication” by Elizabeth A. Flynn

“Toward a Feminist Historiography of Technical Communication” by John F. Flynn

“Welfare’s Changing Face” by Dan Froomkin

“Motherhood on the Night Shift” by Anita Ilta Garey

“A Synthesis of Ethnographic Research” by Michael Genzuk

“The Future of Technical Communication: How Innovation, Technology, Information Management, and Other Forces Are Shaping the Future of the Profession” by Barbara Giammona

“A Heuristic for Defining and Describing Rhetorical Situations” by Keith Grant-Davie

“Association and Dissociation” by Keith Grant-Davie

“Dissent in Zion: Using Stasis Theory to Analyze Legal Disputes between the FLDS Church and the State of Utah” by Keith Grant-Davie

“Gestalt Principles of Perception and Logical Fallacies” by Keith Grant-Davie

“Going Meta, or Making a Meta-Move” by  Keith Grant-Davie

“Presence” by Keith Grant-Davie

“Rhetorical Situations and Their Constituents” by Keith Grant-Davie

“Stasis Theory” by Keith Grant-Davie

“Race, Rhetoric, and Technology: A Case Study of Decolonial Technical Communication Theory, Methodology, and Pedagogy” by Angela M. Haas

“User Agency, Technical Communication, and the 19th-Century Woman Bicyclist” by Sarah Hallenbeck

“Ten Technical Communication Myths” by Geoff Hart

“Flat Broke with Children: Enforcing the Work Ethic” by Sharon Hays

“Intensive Mothering: Women’s Work on Behalf of the Sacred Child” by Sharon Hays

“Toward a Post-Techne-Or, Inventing Pedagogies for Professional Writing” by Byron Hawk

“What Is Ethnography?” by Brian A. Hoey

“Revolutionary Parenting” by bell hooks

“A Cognitive Approach to Readability” by Thomas N. Huckin

“Motherhood, Prime-Time TV, and Grey’s Anatomy” by Latham Hunter

“Narrative Discourse and Management Action” by Daphne A. Jameson

“Telling the Investment Story: A Narrative Analysis of Shareholder Reports” by Daphne A. Jameson

“Relocating the Value of Work: Technical Communication in a Post-Industrial Age” by Johndan Johnson-Eilola

“The Ethic of Expediency: Classical Rhetoric, Technology, and the Holocaust” by Stephen B. Katz

“New Directions in Motherhood Studies” by Samira Kawash

“The Visual Rhetoric of Data Displays: The Conundrum of Clarity” by Charles Kostelnick

“Technical Communication from 1850-1950: Where Have We Been?” by Teresa Kynell

“The Critical Eye, the Gendered Lens, and ‘Situated’ Insights—Feminist Contributions to Professional Communication” by Linda LaDuc and Amanda Goldrick-Jones

“Mother-Worship/Mother-Blame: Politics and Welfare in an Uncertain Age” by Molly Ladd-Taylor

“Mothering in the Middle and Self-Care: Just One More Thing to Do” by Debra Langan

“Interpersonal Conflict in Collaborative Writing: What We Can Learn from Gender Studies” by Mary M. Lay

“The Value of Gender Studies to Professional Communication Research” by Mary M. Lay

“Baby Food: If Breast is Best, Why Are Women Bottling Their Milk?” by Jill Lepore

“Overexposed: Breastfeeding in America” by Jill Lepore

“Man Child: A Black Lesbian Feminist’s Response” by Audre Lorde

“Medicine and Morality in the Nineteenth Century” by Kristin Luker

“Why I Can’t Stop Reading Mormon Housewife Blogs” by Emily Matchar

“Literature Review Tips” by Shannon Mattern

“Integrating Service Learning and Technical Communication: Benefits and Challenges” by Catherine Matthews and Beverly B. Zimmerman

“Fostering the Passive Maternal Experience: Language and Prescription in the What to Expect Series of Maternity Literature” by Sally Mennill

“Playing with Teche: A Propaedeutic for Technical Communication” by Ryan Moeller and Ken McAllister

“System Mapping: A Genre Field Analysis of the National Science Foundation’s Grant Proposal and Funding Process” by Ryan M. Moeller and David M. Christensen

“A Fantasy-Theme Analysis of Arthur Barlowe’s 1584 Discourse on Virginia: The First English Commercial Report Written about North America from Direct Experience” by Michael G. Moran

“The Group Writing Task: A Schema for Collaborative Assignment Making” by Meg Morgan

“Literacy, Technology, and Monopoly Capital” by Richard Ohmann

“Feminist Mothering” by Andrea O’Reilly

“Mothering against Motherhood and the Possiblity of Empowered Maternity for Mothers and Their Children” by Andrea O’Reilly

“Technical Communication and Rhetoric” by Cezar M. Ornatowski

“And Now, the Breast of the Story: Realistic Portrayals of Breastfeeding in Contemporary Television” by Kathryn Pallister

“Beyond ‘A Woman’s Right to Choose’: Feminist Ideas about Reproductive Rights” by Rosalind Pollack Petchesky

“The Man Who Remade Motherhood” by Kate Pickert

“Introduction: Popular Culture’s Maternal Embrace” by Elizabeth Podnieks

“‘The Bump is Back’: Celebrity Moms, Entertainment Journalism, and the ‘Media Mother Police’” by Elizabeth Podnieks

“Ann Romney, Working Woman?” by Katha Pollitt

“The Future Is the Past: Has Technical Communication Arrived as a Profession?” by Kathy Pringle and Sean Williams

“Adding Value as a Professional Technical Communicator” by Janice Redish

“Understanding Readers” by Janice C. Redish

“A Crime Against Motherhood: Involuntary Sterlization Was a Horrifying Exercise in Genetic Engineering” by Nilmini Gunaratne Rubin

“Maternal Thinking” by Sara Ruddick

“The Report for Decision Making: Genre and Inquiry” by Carolyn D. Rude

“The Reality of TV Labour” by Dominique Russell

“Ethics of Engagement: User-Centered Design and Rhetorical Methodology” by Michael J. Salvo

“A Laboratory in Citizenship: Service Learning in the Technical Communication Classroom” by David Alan Sapp and Robbin D. Crabtree

“The Politics of the Interface: Power and Its Exercise in Electronic Contact Zones” by Cynthia L. Selfe and Richard J. Selfe Jr.

“Conversations with Technical Writing Teachers: Defining a Problem” by Bonita R. Selting

“Contributions to Botany , the Female Science, by Two Eighteenth-Century Women Technical Communicators” by Henrietta Nickels Shirk

“Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” by Anne-Marie Slaughter

“Feminist Theory in Technical Communication: Making Knowledge Claims Visible” by Elizabeth Overman Smith and Isabelle Thompson

“Practitioner Research Instruction: A Neglected Curricular Area in Technical Communication Undergraduate Programs” by Rachel Spilka

“Chains and Ecologies: Methodological Notes toward a Communicative-Mediational Model of Technologically Mediated Writing” by Clay Spinuzzi, William Hart-Davidson, and Mark Zachry

“The Methodology of Participatory Design” by Clay Spinuzzi

“Meeting the Challenges of Globalization: A Framework for Global Literacies in Professional Communication Programs” by Doreen Starke-Meyerring

“Technical Communication from 1950-1998: Where Are We Now?” by Katherine Staples

“Tom vs. Brooke: Or Postpartum Depression as Bad Mothering in Popular Culture” by Jocelyn Fenton Stitt

“The Choice Gap” by Pamela Stone

“The Voices of English Women Technical Writers, 1641-1700: Imprints in the Evolution of Modern English Prose Style” by Elizabeth Tebeaux

“Toward an Understanding of Gender Differences in Written Business Communications: A Suggested Perspective for Future Research” by Elizabeth Tebeaux

“Women and Feminism in Technical Communication: A Qualitative Content Analysis of Journal Articles Published in 1989 through 1997” by Isabelle Thompson

“The Myths of Motherhood” by Shari L. Thurer

“PowerPoint Is Evil” by Edward Tufte



The Business of Being Born

The Last Abortion Clinic

The Motherhood Manifesto

I’ve bolded my favorites (I hope it shows up with my copy and paste job into WordPress), just in case you wanted to know.  I’m sure most of you won’t even read through the list, but I wanted it here and I wanted it to show what I’ve done this semester.  It represents some 5,000 pages of reading for me.

what i read this semester pic

Now the stressful part of all of this reading wasn’t getting it done in time for classes or even writing papers and responses to it or for use in larger essays.  The stress came when I realized that I should’ve been creating summaries and lists of good quotes from these readings for my comprehensive exams, which I must take once I’m finished with my coursework.  I had a feeling that I should have started doing that at the beginning of the semester, but I brushed it off, justifying my laxity with the busyness of my life and the lack of time I had to do anything but just what was required.  I realized my mistake in the middle of the semester, when one of my professors gave a presentation on how he had kept track of his own comprehensive list of works in the field for his exams.  I spent most of my free time during the break between semesters summarizing, reviewing, and writing notes to myself about these readings.  I did split up some of the work with two colleagues, so that has made it easier.  This semester, I will be creating these abstracts as soon as I finish reading the book or article.  No more catch-up, makeup work for me during my time off!

So, does anything on my list look interesting?  Have you read any of these items?  Or seen the films? 

22 thoughts on “What I Read Fall Semester

Add yours

  1. I’ve read or am familiar with most of what you experienced this semester and I love what it taught me. I’m pregnant now with my second child. I had a natural childbirth the first time and plan to it again; I tell anyone who will listen how much better it is. I’m a huge proponent of breastfeeding. I’m not sure what you are studying for, but keep up the good work!

    1. Way to take back childbirth! It’s funny how the medicalization of it has frightened women so much, yet that need not be so. Thanks for sharing your experience. I am studying Professional Communication in an English department (editing, tech writing, rhetoric, etc.) but my cognate area is women and gender studies. The class I took this semester was The Culture and Politics of Motherhood. Loved it! I wish I had read most of it before having two children. Thanks for reading!

  2. I remember when I first started my doctorate — I couldn’t believe the amount of (frankly) boring reading I had to do. Yours looks more interesting than mine was, which is probably why I dropped out of my program. You can be very proud of what you’ve accomplished so far and I’m interested to hear more about what you learn along the way. Good luck this semester!

    1. Thank you for your kind words! A lot of it IS boring theory and broad applications of it that I am not particularly interested in. I am hoping to be able to focus more on what I like, which from the bolded entries I can tell is professionalism, race, rhetoric, and feminism, as I go along. I did really enjoy my women and gender studies class.

  3. i’m put the mommy myth book on my wishlist. what about “the conflict” one? (second one down.) i’ve read some of those articles, like the queen of mommy blogging and why i can’t stop reading mormon housewife blogs. i watched the business of being born before i had kids and then made my husband watch it. good stuff!

    1. The Conflict one was okay, but not really worth your time. I read it in a day and then wondered why I had bought it. Not much there… I love the blogging articles. So fun!

    1. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE a million times, Stephanie Coontz! She blows all of those patriarchal myths and ideas that women “belong” in a certain place out of the water. We are striving to live an “ideal” that has never really occurred in human history… She’s great.

  4. I’ve read a few and found a few that I must add to my list. I’ve read Patricia Hill Collins when I was a grad student. It was like she was in my mind and articulated thoughts that were in my soul. Thanks for sharing.

  5. So glad I’ve found you. I’m working on my PhD paper on motherhood and mothering (and the way they are mirrored in drama). I really should check some of the articles you posted. Thanks a lot!

    1. Your research sounds awesome! Make sure you check out the motherhood initiative for research and community involvement bass in Toronto. They publish research like yours and have a great conference.

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