Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design
Dr. Steven B. Katz
Dr. Cynthia Haynes
Dr. Travers Scott
Dr. Diane Perpich
This Dissertation analyzes the life and writing of inventor and scientist Alan Turing in order to identify and theorize chiasmic relations between bodies and texts. Chiasmic rhetoric, as I develop throughout the Dissertation, is the dynamic processes between materials and discourses that interact to construct powerful rhetorical effect, shape bodies, and also compose new knowledges. My research here extends our knowledge of the rhetoric of science by demonstrating the ways that Alan Turing's embodied experiences shape his rhetoric. Turing is an unusual figure for research on bodily rhetoric and embodied knowledge. He is often associated with disembodied knowledge and as his inventions are said to move intelligence towards greater abstraction and away from human bodies. However, this Dissertation exposes the many ways that bodies are active in shaping and producing knowledge even within Turing's scientific and technical writing. I identify how, in every text that Turing produces, chiasmic interactions between bodies and texts actively compose Turing's scientific knowledge and technical innovations towards digital computation and artificial intelligence. His knowledge, thus, is not composed out of abstract logic, or neutral technological advances. Rather, his knowledge and invention are composed and in through discourses and embodied experiences. Given that bodies and discourses are also composed within social and political power dynamics, then the political, social, and personal embodied experiences that compose Turing's life and his embodiment also compose his texts, rhetoric, inventions, and science. Throughout the Dissertation, I develop chiasmic rhetoric as it develops in the rhetorical figure of chiasmus, as intersecting bodies and discourse, dynamic and productive, and potentially destabilizing. I conclude by proposing a pedagogy of care and disorientation that are attuned to the complex embodiment of students interacting with texts in our technical writing and composition classrooms.
Fancher, Patricia, "Chiasmic Rhetoric: Alan Turing Between Bodies and Words" (2014). All Dissertations. 1285.