Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Michael LeVan, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Elizabeth Bell, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Stacy Holman Jones, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Frederick Steier, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Michelle Hughes Miller, Ph.D.


carework, communication, maternity, performative writing, relationality, subjectivity


This dissertation is a performative interrogation of the disagreement and (dis)interest, communication issues, surrounding motherhood in contemporary U.S. culture. Textual analysis of Mary Kelly's Post-Partum Document (PPD) plays a key role in my inquiry. I juxtapose documentation from my lived experiences and academic projects with Kelly's work to build upon the themes and ideas introduced throughout PPD. This project is guided by the concepts love and (im)possibility, and I will argue that, together, they are central to understanding mothering/caregiving as a site of communication inquiry. Love and (im)possibility are inherent to both mothering and communication, but they also are essential for creating the conditions for new variations, ways of doing, and being with and for one another.