Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Phillip Sipiora, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Marilyn Myerson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kimberly Golombisky, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Timothy Bajkiewicz, Ph.D.


autobiographies, gender, Internet, journal, postmodernism


Women are drawing together the concepts of space, style,and medium and using these concepts collectively as a foundation for a new discursive tradition in the online autobiography. This dissertation, positioned in postmodern feminism, draws on a variety of disciplines to argue the development or evolution of a new women's discourse.

While a broad base of material exists which acknowledges the presence of women's discourse (formed by combining women's writing and women's genres), very little information explores its evolution, particularly in/on the new medium of the World Wide Web (WWW).

A combination of extant social and literary theories supports the idea that women are developing a new e-criture feminine via the online diary. Both the virtual medium and the historically female genre echo the very tenets of this new writing style: privacy, individuality, and a lack of (restraining) conventions.

This dissertation will contextualize the phenomenon of women publishing online diaries in the poststructuralist ideologies of Woolf, DuPlessis, and Cixous. Following an explication of women's space, women's style, and women's medium, this dissertation will demonstrate that women successfully concatenate these concepts in their online journals, resulting in the creation of a new feminine discourse.

The goal of this project is to provide readers with a theoretical explication of this new discursive tradition. Certainly, a number of critical and academic works exist which address the “gendering” of the written medium, the phenomenon of women publishing online, the importance of women developing their own voices.

What is missing from academic dialogue, however, is the assertion that these individual elements unite to create a new discursive tradition that is at once literary and rhetorical. Using the work of Woolf, DuPlessis, and Cixous, this dissertation presents, explicates, and ties together these elements in an effort to introduce and theorize the significance of this new discursive tradition within the context of postmodern feminism/s. Ultimately, this dissertation seeks to demonstrate that women are experiencing the organic concatenation of the concepts of space (Woolf), style (DuPlessis), and medium (Cixous) as they relate to the Web in order to develop an important new women’s discursive tradition.