Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Writing Program


Eileen Schell


Computers and Writing, Digital Literacies, Globalization, Literacy, Rhetoric and Composition, Transnational Feminism

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities


This dissertation interrogates the global material consequences of the rhetorics of digital literacies in the One-Third World. Building on the work of literacy studies and computers and writing scholarship, I define and critique "the digital literacy myth"-a public discourse wherein digital literacies and their technologies are portrayed as inherently democratic for individuals and nations, and are promised to deliver economic competitiveness to those who can attain and best leverage them. I follow the consequences of the digital literacy myth, showing how the myth shapes One-Third World responses to transnational moments of struggle in the case of the 2009 Iranian election protests and the recent decades of rape related to conflict minerals in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Using a transnational feminist analytic to trace transnational networks of literacy and materiality, I argue that the digital literacy myth frames how One-Third World citizens are likely to read and participate in global events. And, I note the ways in which US neoliberal interests have historically invested in the digital literacy myth in order to serve their economic agenda. Lastly, I address how, as ethical writing teachers, we might balance teaching our students the digital literacies of today's economy while remaining aware of the costs of those literacies in the global era.


Open Access