Date of Award

May 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication and Rhetorical Studies


Charles E. Morris III


Ecology, Extinction, Museums, Pedagogy, Rhetoric, Tourism

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


This thesis contends that communication scholars ought to investigate how and to what effect individual/collective rhetors seek to persuade humans about their interconnectedness with nonhumans and the physical world. Specifically, the author draws on his participant-observations of the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan, New York, to rhetorically analyze the ways in which the institution renders intelligible to tourists the sixth mass extinction in natural history, an event known as the Holocene Extinction. By touring the American Museum and documenting his experiences through a series of critical vignettes, the author demonstrates how the institution, namely the Hall of Biodiversity, seeks to create an entangled public, or a collectivity of humans that see their wellbeing and the survival of the more-than-human world as entangled. As an outcome of this thesis, the author theorizes what he calls pedagogies of entanglement to refer to a class of instructional discourses that manifest in/through communication about the relationship between humans and the more-than-human world, a nascent phenomenon that he argues appears within and beyond the American Museum. To that end, the author calls for a more robust engagement with the pedagogies of entanglement that populate the discourses of other overlapping technical and public spheres. Doing so will provide rhetoricians with the opportunity to assess the effectivity of other situated pedagogies of entanglement in order to offer tools and recommendations to better human communication about the more-than-human world.


Open Access