Theses Doctoral

The Bodies We Write In: Reentry Women Narrate Embodied Experiences of Writing in Graduate Education

De Cerff, Jennifer

This inquiry project explores connections between mind and body in academic writing. What scholars, educators and researchers have noted about the inclusion of the body in academic study illuminates the challenges of understanding the relationship between the two. Using a framework shaped by embodiment and feminist criticality illuminates how the body is elided through schooling and educational systems, reaching a peak in higher education. An interdisciplinary review of the literature supports a broad consideration of embodiment and typical writing practices in academic settings.

To better understand the body as a source of knowledge, data construction is holistic, using an embodied methodology with women who reenter graduate school later in life. Mindful awareness of the body guides the relating of writing experiences, and methods are designed with an ethic of care for participants, a spirit of co-creation, and shared experience. A narrative approach to data is used to explore where and how embodiment appears in women’s stories about academic writing.

The research process reflects a time of social separation within a pandemic. By better understanding women’s embodied experiences, this project seeks to enrich and enliven the way institutions of graduate study understand writing as an embodied practice and to honor what the body knows alongside the mind.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
English Education
Thesis Advisors
Fecho, Robert
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 12, 2022