Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Arts in English, Rhetoric and Composition



Major Advisor

Heidi Estrem, Ph.D.


Dawn Shepherd, Ph.D.


Karen Uehling, M.A.


Drawing on David L. Wallace’s assertion that the field of rhetoric and composition needs to interpret and present our research into cultural communities in ways that no longer tacitly assume our rhetorical choices are neutral, I present a critique of 19 articles from College Composition and Communication and Teaching English in the Two-Year College that contained one or more instances of five keywords and direct references to student veterans. Using a theoretical framework built from theory by James Berlin, Thomas Huckin, and Marguerite Helmers, I expose various stereotypical and problematic tropes we rely on and re-create in our scholarly writing about student veterans.

Additionally, my research reveals the ways in which the data indicates that our field consistently constructs student veterans from a position that places them outside the academy, leaving them without the respect of their instructors and peers, without inclusion in the classroom community, and without our efforts to recognize them as individuals and as students. As Thomas Huckin asserts, “Sociolinguistic research has shown that communities are created and maintained largely by their language-using practices” (85), and so the ways in which we construct the student veteran identity from an undesirable position in our printed scholarship has the effect of maintaining that construction. This practice can keep our viewpoints from evolving to acknowledge and respect our student veterans’ backgrounds and working to create pedagogical theories that assist them in their educational goals. By looking closely at how we describe student veterans through our published research, we can begin to recognize the ideological lenses we all carry, how those lenses view student veterans, and how those lenses subtly or overtly influence our perceptions of the student veterans we teach.

Included in

Rhetoric Commons