Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



“To Live Outside the Law, You Must Be Honest”: Words, Walls, and the Rhetorical Practices of The Angolite examines the 50 year history of The Angolite, a news magazine published and edited by inmates at Louisiana State Penitentiary. While The Angolite and the efforts of former editor Wilbert Rideau have been discussed in the public media, especially here in Louisiana, my dissertation is the first extended scholarly account of this prison publication. Specifically, I examine how inmate writers held in one of the most historically violent penitentiaries in the United States choose to represent themselves, their multiple literacies, and their own understanding of such issues as inmate educational opportunities and prison rape. Such literacy practices are framed by the fact that the majority of inmates at Angola read below fifth-grade level and that educational opportunities behind bars are few. Via rhetorical analysis and ethnographic accounts, I show how these writers attempt to engage in public sphere discussions of human rights, literacy, ethics, and the history of incarceration. As a whole, these writings create a counter-identity that challenges the dominant conception of prisoners in the United States. In short, Angolite staff members write to become something other than other.



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Secure the entire work for patent and/or proprietary purposes for a period of one year. Student has submitted appropriate documentation which states: During this period the copyright owner also agrees not to exercise her/his ownership rights, including public use in works, without prior authorization from LSU. At the end of the one year period, either we or LSU may request an automatic extension for one additional year. At the end of the one year secure period (or its extension, if such is requested), the work will be released for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Katrina M. Powell