Hypertextual ways of knowing: Mapping the intersections of hypertext theory, feminist epistemology, and feminist rhetoric
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This study demonstrates the convergence of three disciplinary fields: hypertext theory, feminist epistemology, and feminist rhetoric. My central thesis is that the conjunction of hypertext theory and feminist epistemology allows for a rearticulation of feminist rhetoric. The core of this study consists of an analysis of five female-authored hypertexts, all ofwhich were composed with Eastgate Systems' Storyspace hypertext-authoring software: two long hyperfictions, Carolyn Guyer's Quibbling (1992) and Shelley Jackson's Patchwork Girl (1995); two short hyperfictions, J. Yellowlees Douglas's "I Have Said Nothing" (1994) and Mary-Kim Arnold's "Lust" (1994); and Diane Greco's hypertext monograph Cyborg: Engineering the Body Electric (1995). The Storyspace read-write interface allows the user to intervene in the text, or to take on the role of reader-writer. Hence, I have used Storyspace's read-write interface to write my own text, consisting of commentary, analysis, and personal reflection, within each of these five hypertexts. The major humanities-based hypertext theorists (e.g., George Landow, Richard Lanham, Jay David Bolter, Michael Joyce, J. Yellowlees Douglas, Johndan Johnson- Eilola) have each explained how hypertext functions, and they have articulated the ways in which conventional text and hypertext differ. We now know that hypertext must be understood on its own terms, rather than as a simple extension or evolution of print. Yet, insofar as they have adhered to gender-neutral methodologies, the above-named scholars have left vast areas ofhypertext theory and practice unmapped. Hence, by employing a feminist methodology, this study aims to take the scholarly discourse on humanitiesbased hypertext in a new direction. A second strand of this study examines the implications of a feminist theorization of hypertext for composition pedagogy, as well as for higher education and contemporary discussions of literacy and new media. Thus, this study situates hypertext theory within the discursive contexts of feminist pedagogy and the institutional politics of American higher education.