Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Maggie Shelledy

Second Advisor

Dr. Randall Monty

Third Advisor

Dr. Alyssa Cavazos


Prison is an environment by which man is no longer a man. In an institution designed to limit the agency of incarcerated individuals, a literacy event has unfolded through the rhetorical practice of prison tattooing that allows individuals to re/gain their agency. Tattoos allow for the incarcerated, who are seen as state property, to break down the dehumanizing assemblage that has been created. The body, now an object, becomes a site for rhetorical communication where an emergent agency develops within the relationship of all intra-acting factors. I analyze and build upon ambient rhetoric, visual rhetoric, Kairos, and counternarratives to understand the humanizing literacy event that has unfolded, interviewing three formerly incarcerated men to gain an insider understanding of a rhetorical tool used by an exclusive group of individuals.


Copyright 2019 Rebecca R. Reyes. All Rights Reserved.