Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Committee Chair

William Duffy

Committee Member

Katherine Fredlund

Committee Member

Scott Sundvall

Committee Member

Michael-John DePalma


This dissertation examines how religious students conceive of and compose their faith convictions in the composition classroom. This work explores how to respond to conviction within the classroom by looking at the American Pragmatists, showing how religious conviction could be necessary for producing a particular kind of writing and unlocking certain methods of writing for students that are inaccessible without allowing religious conviction to be present in the classroom. It then examines conviction itself, looking at what faith is, differentiating religious identity from religious conviction. This work then examines in-depth, qualitative interviews with four religious students at a secular university. These students describe several instances where they believed that expressing their conviction could threaten their grade, or times when they kept their religious conviction hidden out of fear of disrespect or retaliation from their classrooms, they also demonstrate how their religious conviction, when allowed to be expressed, gave their work life, beauty, and purpose. Allowing faith convictions to be expressed and discussed within the classroom contributes to, rather than detracts from, the pluralism of the classroom, as well as helps contribute to the beauty and purpose of student writing.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest.


Open Access