Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Meredith W. Zoetewey


Actor Network Theory, Bruno Latour, disciplinarity, humanities, pedagogy, technical communication


In this thesis I argue that technical communication as an academic curricular entity has struggled to define itself as either a humanities or scientific discipline. I argue that this crisis of identity is due to a larger, institutional flaw first identified by the science studies scholar Bruno Latour as the problem of the "modern constitution." Latour's argument, often referred to as Actor-Network Theory (ANT), suggests that the epistemological arguments about scientific certainty are built on a contradiction. In viewing the problem of technical communication's disciplinarity through the lens of ANT, I argue that technical communication can never be productive if it seeks to locate itself within any of the institutional camps of the modern university. Rather, I contend that technical communication is a strong example of a nonmodern discipline, and that its identity crisis can be utilized to take one step towards rewriting the institutional debate over scientific certainty.