Date of Award

Spring 1987

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Since journals were introduced into the composition curriculum in the 1960's, they have become increasingly important components both of writing and writing across the curriculum courses. Yet the available literature shows we know little about the historical and social contexts of journal and diary keeping. This dissertation looks at the ways gender informs our students' attitudes toward and experience with journal keeping in both academic and nonacademic settings.

Using three men's and three women's journals as the focal point of my discussion, I find striking sex differences both in the quantity and in the "qualities" of the journals they wrote. These patterned differences, I claim, are linked with centuries- old gendered traditions of journal and diary keeping, and are consonant with other larger gendered patterns in discourse, which in large part, are a consequence of the dominant/muted and public/private relationships men and women have held with regard to language. Implications for teaching and further research are discussed.