Date of Completion


Embargo Period



creativity, innovation, writing, composition, rhetoric, pedagogy, materiality, sociality, extratextuality, error

Major Advisor

Thomas Deans

Associate Advisor

Brenda Brueggemann

Associate Advisor

Dwight Codr

Associate Advisor

Christopher Vials

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Creativity, innovation, disruption, and other such concepts have become central to much scholarly and popular literature on economics, entrepreneurship, and management. Other influential discourses—psychology, urban design, and higher education policy—have followed suit, taking a similar interest in these concepts. As a result, creativity has ascended to the status of something like a core cultural value—ubiquitous, always referred to positively, but frequently stripped of any specific meaning, or else understood in narrowly individualist and economic terms. With signs of “creativity creep” now appearing in composition studies, my dissertation examines other disciplines’ scholarship on creativity and related concepts and considers how creativity might function usefully and ethically in composition studies. I find that, under close scrutiny, individualist and economic views of creativity (like the artist in the garret or the technocrat in the garage) fail to pass muster; they don’t do justice to the complexity of creative processes and productions. In reality, creativity—especially in writing—always involves collaborative, networked, highly socially and materially mediated processes of production, circulation, and reception.

Available for download on Tuesday, April 15, 2025