CASDW Dissertation Awards for 2014

I am pleased to be able to announce the winners of this award..

For the Best Dissertation in Rhetoric, Writing Studies or Discourse Studies in 2013, the winner is Ghada Chehade. Honourable mention goes to Meaghan kittle Autry and Daniel Richards. The committee had this to say:

“As a committee, we reviewed five dissertations that together projected a very bright future for the the field of writing and rhetorical studies. The dissertations differed widely in subject matter and methodology but were uniformly strong. It was a difficult decision—the words “dead heat” were used several times— but in the end we have awarded the CASDW 2014 Dissertation Award to Dr. Ghada Chehade for her thesis, “Anti-Terrorism Discourse and the War on Dissent: A Critical Analysis.”

Dr. Chehade analyzed official documents surrounding terrorism in Canada using Critical Discourse Analysis, and ultimately argues that these anti-terrorism texts discursively criminalize dissent. Her challenging and important topic, sweeping scope, rigorous use of CDA and contemporary critical theory, and her sophisticated but very cogent prose, won the day.

We would also like to award honorable mentions to Dr.Daniel Richards and Dr. Meaghan Kittle Autry, in recognition of their excellent work.
Dr. Richards thesis, “Dead Man’s Switch: Disaster Rhetorics in a Posthuman Age,” brought a complex rhetorical philosophical frame to the rhetoric of risk and disaster around the Gulf Oil Spill, suggesting new paradigms for critically engaging with technical social discourses of environmental risk and disaster.

Dr. Kittle Autry’s thesis, “Genre Change Online: Open Access and the Scientific Research Article Genre” offered a synthesis of past frameworks, as well as an extensive analysis of the historical development of the genre of the scientific research article, building toward its current iterations within a dynamic genre eco system in Open Access venues. The thesis develops a qualitative framework that includes survey questionnaires of the authors and editors of 50 top published OA articles. This work, just like that of Chehade and Richards, is an excellent model for future studies.

In these three dissertations we saw three very unique and very different approaches to our shared field: In Chehades’ work we saw critical discourse analysis meeting critical theory, imbricated within the social mediation of texts. In Richards’ thesis we saw an applied conceptual rhetorical study of social texts. In Kittle Autry’s dissertation we saw very solid rhetorical genre studies theory used to reveal the disciplinary writing of a scientific genre, and we saw an empirical test of a traditional canonical frame in a new media situation. Together, these works bear evidence of the richness of writing and rhetorical studies, Canada’s future role in the discipline, and the strength and inter animation of diverse schools and strands of Writing Studies in North America.”

Thanks to these promising researcher for their additions to our field, and thanks also to the Dissertation Awards Committee, consisting of Kathryn Alexander, Jay Dolmage and Sarah King.