Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Comparative Literature (Interdepartmental Program)

Document Type



This project reconceptualizes how women and their personal stories of trauma have been read and represented in literary, feminist, and pedagogical studies, asserting that these authors and their texts should be recognized respectively as wounded healers and healing narratives. By situating my study within links among trauma, women, and writing, I argue that women and their personal stories of trauma exist in marginal, or rather, wounded positions. I problematize scholarship where links among these three commonly emerge (namely psychoanalytic, autobiographical, and feminist fields) to challenge monolithic readings and re-write these women and texts as more than wounded. More than Words, More than Wounds focuses on writing acts and purposes, post-trauma, stressing life-wring as acts of agency and expressions of (feminine) creative movement—holding healing potentials. Throughout the chapters, I identify and move beyond negative connotations and tensions, arguing that Cixous’s l’écriture feminine as well as multiplicities, ambiguities, and contradictions open opportunities for healing processes to emerge, post-trauma. Furthermore, I draw on scholars such as Herman and Anzaldúa to stress that writing the story is connected to healing the self, an act that is never-ending and requires interconnectedness. Such (re)writing acts move beyond repetition, spiraling to and promoting individual and communal healing while connecting personal stories to a shared social story of women, trauma, and healing. These claims are emphasized in the final chapter, where I engage with the limitations and possibilities of including such personal stories in English curricula. Contextualizing my claims within composition and pedagogical studies, I primarily draw on Nouwen’s “wounded healer” concept to develop a wounded healer pedagogy, merging the personal, creative, and spiritual and contending that links between trauma and writing fosters self-awareness, interconnectedness, and a call of healing within and beyond the course.



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Committee Chair

Asher, Nina