Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design

Committee Chair/Advisor

David Blakesley

Committee Member

Nic Brown

Committee Member

June Pilcher

Committee Member

Hugh Spitler


Despite the boom of memoirs of mental health post-1997 and the first advertisements for Prozac, most of them follow the same formula and come from the same places of privilege. This privilege is evident in the author bios on the books themselves and the careers of the writers. The popularity of these books within both abled and disabled realms has therefore created a script that those with mental illnesses are expected to abide by. Following in the example of Margaret Price, Katie Rose Guest Pryal, Merri Lisa Johnson, and others, I resituate mental illness as mental disability and place it within the world of disability studies. In doing so, this dissertation explores practical uses of Johnson and Robert McRuer’s cripistemologies, Johnson’s c/rip, and Flannery O’Connor’s and Yuan Yuan’s grotesque as methods for establishing the beginnings of a grotesque cripistemology with which those with mental disabilities might construct accessible narratives. Through a close look at zines and glitches, I seek to discover ways in which writers with mental disabilities might use fragmented writing, trash, and brokenness in order to utilize this new grotesque cripistemology in order to not construct stories of overcoming aimed at abled audiences, but rather stories of the self and of being within the hurricane which is to have a mental disability unabashedly aimed at a disabled audience.

Included in

Rhetoric Commons



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