Domestic Literacy: Situating Composition Within the Discipline of Home Economics

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


Literature and Languages

Date of Award

Spring 2015


This document offers a research study that defines the term domestic literacy and argues for the home management house as rhetorical space for women. The study surveys an archival collection of student exams and other documents from the now closed home economics department of Texas A&M University-Commerce (formerly East Texas State Teachers College). The home economics department was established on the ET campus in 1917 and closed in 1989. In the summer of 1936, the home management house opened at ET as a place where home economics students lived for up to nine weeks and practiced their domestic skills in a home setting. The student exams and other rhetorical archives used in this study are dated from 1936 to 1953 and reflect the voices of Depression and War Years home economics students at ET. While the study primarily focuses on the local department, correlations to nationwide trends in home economics and women's higher education are discussed. This document also makes a connection between home economics education and feminist rhetorical studies since female students discovered their own public voices through home economics education. These voices appear in the primary documents preserved from the local department.


Bill Bolin

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities | English Language and Literature | Rhetoric and Composition