Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Emily Isaacs

Committee Member

Jessica Restaino

Committee Member

Laura Nicosia


In this thesis, I examine the writing pedagogy known as identity negotiation. I focus specifically on the models Robert E. Brooke presents in his book, Writing and Sense of Self: Identity Negotiation in Writing Workshops, and in several essays. I also review later adaptations of this theory by such writers as Zan Goncalves, Nancy Welch, Lad Tobin and Bronwyn Williams. Finally, I will discuss practical applications of identity theory in the STRUGGLE program in Pittsburgh and in programs that are affiliated with the National Writing Project.

Throughout, I analyze and affirm Brooke’s argument that identity negotiation is so woven into human psychological growth that it ought to be emphasized in writing instruction. I agree with the author’s contention that teaching writing as a form of identity negotiation enhances instruction and increases the chances of that instruction’s success. I will discuss various further benefits that writing students will derive from identity negotiation strategy.

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