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Author ORCID Identifier


Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Kimberlee Perez

Second Advisor

Leda Cooks

Third Advisor

Rebecca Dingo

Subject Categories

Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | Speech and Rhetorical Studies


Human history is older than written words. Knowledge has passed from generation to generation and “the world’s earliest archives or libraries were the memories of women,” (Minh-ha, 2009, p. 121). This project centers women’s storytelling practices as embodied and generational acts of knowledge production. I argue that storytelling disrupts historical narratives of exclusion and is a practice of survival and resistance. To study women’s stories throughout history in the west is to begin from a place of absence. The first part of the dissertation focuses on sites of knowledge production including myth, religion, and science, and traces how our understandings of gender have evolved over time specifically to exclude the stories of women from culture. I read women’s storytelling practices alongside dominant discourses of knowledge to show how subjugated knowledge is always present. Secondly, I look to fairy tales, originally called “old wives’ tales” as exemplars of one of the oldest genres of women’s storytelling in the world. Specifically, this chapter is interested in tracing the history of fairy tales as embodied archive, stories that relied on memory and sharing to exist, generationally passing down through women who traditionally told them as entertainment for children or as exchanges in the midst of performing the labors of the house. I then turn to the more private sphere of the family. Specifically, I connect my own family of five generations of telling stories of race, border crossing, and in-betweenness to the ways family lore is translated through women’s bodies. The private space of the family alongside public narratives shows the tensions between surviving and resisting under conditions of white hegemony and patriarchy. This project makes a methodological and epistemological contribution to Communication Studies by arguing for a historically attuned engagement with women’s stories, narratives, and the body.


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Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License.