The Center for Writing Studies

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Colloquium Archive

Hannah Bellwoar

Name: Hannah Bellwoar, English Department

Presentation Title: "Unofficial Constructions: Bodily Texts and Women's Health"

Date: December 4, 2008


Drawing on work in science studies, rhetorical studies, and feminist theory (e.g., Haas, Kapsalis, Latour, Scollon & Scollon, Segal) my dissertation examines the literate practices of individuals as they engage in their everyday lives with the professional systems of biomedicine, healthcare, and alternative health. In my colloquium talk, I present an early analysis of a case in which a participant uses understandings of women's bodies, developed through her experience as a pratical instructor to medical students, in other aspects of her life. Through interview data, I highlight stories she tells that weave the professional into her everyday lifeworlds, stories about the complex ways she learns to do her job as a practical instructor, reading the body as text, or bodily texts, and using semiotic resources to construct understandings of health that she incorporates into her own healthcare. I also explore how this research aims to expand the notion of the "professional" in professional writing by looking at the reception, use, and repurposing of professional texts. My goal is to nudge researchers and academics in professional writing studies to consider broad issues of "culture" and "use" as fundamental to understandings of workplace literacy.