Date of Award

May 2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Communication Studies

Committee Member

Jan R Holmevik

Committee Member

Megan Eatman

Committee Member

Mary Barr

Committee Member

Beth Lauritis

Committee Member

Gregory Ulmer

Abstract

This project focuses on the convergence of rhetorical theory, memory studies, and

community-based writing. I use this tripartite to call attention to the politics of

remembering Black history in the South. Specifically, I utilize the historic rural town of

Pendleton, South Carolina as a case study. Pendleton, like many towns and cities in the

American South, has a complicated relationship with its history, which is observable

through the town’s segregated physical spaces, as well as through its historic sites and

markers. Through a methodology I call chora/graphy, I create several associated maps of

Pendleton’s contested spaces, places, and objects, and, along the way, I question the

rhetorical implications of memorialization in the American South, specifically the public

discourse surrounding Pendleton’s historic markers, memorials, and plantation houses.

Arguing against memorials that distance people from public memory, as well as the

socio-political issues that surround Southern histories, my project intervenes in

Pendleton’s problematic discourses via a crowdsourced community writing project

called, Counter-Tour: Remembering Black History in Pendleton, South Carolina. This

project takes form through 360° virtual reality (VR), which utilizes 360° images of the

spaces, places, and objects in Pendleton, along with embedded informative text, video,

and/or photos. As a collaborative endeavor, Counter-Tour draws from historical archives,

as well the oral histories I collected from Black residents in Pendleton as well as the

town’s historical archives. The ultimate purpose of the project is to remember and

circulate Pendleton’s un(der)recognized rich and nuanced Black histories to a network of

publics, including Black and white residents, tourists, and visitors.

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