Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Ufuk Ersoy

Committee Member

Dr. Cynthia Haynes

Committee Member

Dr. Andreea Mihalache

Committee Member

Dr. Gabriel Hankins


My research pivots around questions of making, its importance to all of life, and the challenges it faces in the contemporary world. The research is grounded in simple questions such as: what is making, what are its instruments, and can we do it on purpose? I approach these questions as if through binoculars. With one eye, I want to establish an account of making that is plain and somewhat quotidian. This will ensure the long-term viability of my study. With the other eye, I look for an account of making that is theoretically substantial and thoroughly vigorous. I apply magnification to both of these angles in order to home in on the essential features and operations of making. Though these two focal angles are arranged sequentially in the dissertation, they are conceptually reflexive. One perspective informs the other.

I start with the focal chamber that is directed towards the mundane. I take the everyday concerns of “making a living” as my point of departure and treat it as my raw sample. I then examine that sample under the fourfold lens of SYSTEMATIC COMBINING. These lenses spotlight and isolate three structural principles of making. Namely, all making is comprised of agency, surface, and the process of marking. With a more formidable sample in view, I turn to the other binocular barrel and apply more levels of magnification. I look at “making a living” under the lenses of anthropology, phenomenology, and architecture. These rotating magnifications reveal three critical motifs for an account of making. Namely, making is inflected by number, touch, and repetition.

Finally, I speculate about the way these binocular angles and their constituent parts are held together by controlling theoretical perspectives. I claim that most making in the modern world has been understood under the rubric of writing and has been guided by a philosophical assumption about exteriority. I assert that drawing—and its correlative assumption about interiority—can rehabilitate making and achieve the goals set out from the beginning of the dissertation. That is, drawing—both as a theory and instrument of making—elides contemporary problems whilst remaining accessible precisely because it is material, habitual, and tectonic.



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