Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Josh M. Scacco

Second Advisor

Ashley Kelly

Committee Chair

Josh M. Scacco

Committee Co-Chair

Ashley Kelly

Committee Member 1

Patrice M. Buzzanell


Rhetorical genre analysis examines genre as social action and is primarily concerned with the experiences of individual users (Miller, 1984). The genres that rhetorical genre scholarship takes up are typically functional genres or genres in which individuals have direct means of utilizing and modifying a genre. This focus on functional genres makes sense in terms of the tradition’s interest in user experience and reciprocity. This project seeks to examine the potential implications rhetorical genre analysis has for vernacular genres which, for the most part, have remained the domain of literary scholarship due to their focus on structural, formal elements.

This project focuses on the superhero genre as a point of study in order to engage how users experience a vernacular genre. The superhero genre in particular is characterized by lack of direct access to genre reproduction for users, which is a point of interest for rhetorical genre analysis. In order to explore the potential theoretical implications of rhetorical genre analysis application to vernacular genres, there will be two guiding questions around which the project is oriented: (1) what rhetorical work does the superhero genre perform? And (2) what can we say about rhetorical genre analysis of vernacular genres?