Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design


Vitanza, Victor J

Committee Member

Haynes , Cynthia

Committee Member

Feeser , Andrea

Committee Member

Hung , Christina N


This work engages the film The Five Obstructions (2003) as a configuration for multimodal composition. It explores a theory of general composition as a matter of confronting obstructions or creative constraints as a process of collaborative revision and pedagogy. Writing in this context constitutes ethical responses to the shifting constraints of communication and signification. The obstructions performed by the film as a series of revisions offer sources of proliferating rhetorical invention and play grounded on negotiated fields of operations.
The first two chapters explore the relations between image and ethics in a pedagogy of revision, while the third considers the position of creative freedom as its own compositional obstruction. The fourth chapter looks to psychoanalysis as a model for an interruptive or hesitant relationship that accounts for an ethical exchange between teacher and student. The final chapter proposes configurations for how obstructions and revision function as a compositional approach, and offers a general lens in which to attend to assignments. All five chapters are written alongside the five obstructions from the film and embody the ethical practice of composition discussed in the project.

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