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Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Rhetoric, Theory and Culture (PhD)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Humanities

Advisor 1

Oren M. Abeles

Advisor 2

Michelle Jarvie-Eggart

Committee Member 1

Sarah Bell

Committee Member 2

Brandee Easter


In response to calls for scholarship that affirms the epistemological value of the literacy practices of people whose practices have been systematically overlooked in theorizing literacy, this qualitative study examines how missing people (e.g., people of color, women, and the gender fluid) conceptualize coding as a species of writing. The study is grounded in the notion that we are in posthuman times, and that coding typifies literacy in the 21st century. Operating within the critical posthumanities, the study argues from a feminist new materialist perspective that to displace humanistic epistemologies that are anthropocentric, and to affirm the posthumanity of missing people, scholars should consider methods that allow missing people to be co-participants and co-creators of knowledge in their projects as they work together towards the making and understanding of data. Furthermore, the study proposes the homo programmator (the MAN who writes code) as a concept that reflects the becoming of beings who are literate in the writing of code. The homo programmator embodies masculinist norms that institutionalized methods of coding literacy instruction reinforce the becoming of missing peoples who are literate in writing code challenges the dominance of this man as their becoming literate provides opportunities for the emergence of a posthuman writer of code who embodies a more just and inclusive representation of the code writing person. Again, the dissertation suggests that missing people are aware that we are already posthuman and their coding practices reveal a complex intra-action between them, the codes they write, the functions the codes perform, and the computer programs that emerge within the coding event. Finally, the dissertation suggests that the Discourses that are enacted within the commentary of written code reflect and challenge both the institutionalized demands of code writing and the social demands of performing professional and gendered identities.