My name is Evelyn Dsouza. I'm a PhD candidate at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in the Department of Writing Studies.
At the University of Minnesota, I have taught first-year writing, writing arguments, and technical and professional writing as a graduate instructor. My background is interdisciplinary, but I have sustained a central focus on how texts "do work" in the world, especially those that entangle environmental concerns and matters of social and environmental justice. It is this active, relational, and ecology-oriented view of rhetoric and writing that I share with others in my teaching and research.
As a rhetorician, I study scientific and technical communication with a focus on environmental writing, especially as it occurs in the field of natural resources science and management. To that end, my dissertation examines the rhetorical ecology of the Hackensack-Passaic River watershed, with a focus on the ways that apparently dissimilar texts, discourses, and events rhetorically "adhere" in these networks. On the side, I'm writing a book chapter about the Celtic knot for an upcoming edited collection, Global Rhetorics of Science. I have also written and presented on various topics in composition and technical communication (TC) pedagogy.
From 2015 to 2019, I served on the board of directors at the Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Conservation Center, a non-profit organization and faith-based land trust. I'm also a member of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars.
I am married to Clinton Dsouza, a cybersecurity professional. Together, we love to spend time outdoors, cook at home, be with our families, and watch food, house, and travel shows on repeat.
Thanks for visiting! Please reach out if you'd like to know more, or if you'd like to collaborate. 🙂
Photograph by Monica Mendoza Photography
- 2018 - present
University of Minnesota, Twin CitiesDoctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Rhetoric and Scientific and Technical Communication
- 2016 - 2018
University of Minnesota, Twin CitiesMaster of Arts (MA) in Rhetoric and Scientific and Technical Communication
- 2010 - 2014
Drew UniversityBachelor of Arts (BA) in English and Environmental Studies and Sustainability
- 2016 - present
Graduate InstructorUniversity of Minnesota, Twin Cities
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My full CV is available upon request.
Statement of Teaching PhilosophyMy philosophy of teaching emerges from two core (and interrelated) ideologies. The first is my belief in ecological learning and, by extension, distributed agency. The second is my commitment to accessibility, as expressed in universal design. While these principles are supported extensively in writing studies’ pedagogical research, they have also come to me by way of my own experiences—in the classroom, on the hiking trail, or by the stream, and with students “K–16.” Read more…
Selected Comments from Student Evaluations
“She always was helpful to students, specific to their paper. She responded to emails quickly, offered to set up meetings time, and was useful in class.”
“Evelyn was a fantastic teacher. I came into this writing class not knowing how the teacher would do, but I am happy knowing now that she was an overall great teacher. I really liked how she connected with her students and I also appreciated the time she took with giving us all feedback. Another helpful thing that she incorporated were student-teacher conferences. This allowed the students to really ask her questions one on one, which was very beneficial.”
“I learned a lot in class about different things and Evelyn’s energy really helped.”Read more…
Selected Classroom MaterialsComing soon: syllabi and example assignments
When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe. – John Muir
Broadly, in my research and writing, I explore the interface of text and environment. Theoretical frameworks like rhetorical ecology and actor-network theory have been especially helpful for my work, which pays attention to the material, ecological, and spatial dimensions of written communication. I am interested in the ways that texts act (e.g., Said, 1983; Cooper & Holzman, 1989) and, in particular, how technical communication does work in the public sphere (e.g., Miller & Katz, 1996; Patterson & Lee, 1997; Rude, 2004; Grabill, 2007; Flower, 2008; Moore, 2016). These interests lead me to the related fields of urban and regional planning, environmental conflict management, studies of science and technology, communication in public and nonprofit sectors, and public engagement with science and technology.
- Research in Writing Studies and Technical Communication
- Scholarship in Rhetoric and the Humanities
- Technical and Professional Writing
The Celtic Knot as a Rhetorical Figure
In 2013, a team led by Dr. Wenxin Wang at the National University of Ireland Galway published news of their breakthrough polymerization technique, a process of forming polymer chains with a range of industrial and medical applications, in Nature Communications. The method was inspired by Celtic knots, complete loops without a beginning or end that have adorned religious monuments and manuscripts since the time of the late Roman empire. Knots and similar patterns have appeared in various cultures, and Celtic knots in particular remain among the most enduring for their high degree of transport from, across, and within cultures and over time. As Doran (1995) has argued, Celtic knotwork designs reveal the deep mathematical sophistication of their creators, and these ancient patterns continue to yield questions and insights for scientists and mathematicians (Fisher and Mellor 2004). In this proposed chapter, inspired by Jeanne Fahnestock (1999) on rhetorical figures in scientific argumentation, I set out to investigate the Celtic knot, which has not yet been treated in Western scholarship within rhetoric of science. By way of rhetorical sequencing (Enos 2002), an analytical technique in historical research, I will offer a scholarly perspective on Celtic rhetoric as made manifest in the mathematical and artistic figuration of the knot. The chapter, which will first attempt to understand the original uses of Celtic knots on their own terms--including their modes and methods of circulation, as well as the communities they helped to substantiate--will also incorporate discussion of the knot’s uptake in current scientific and mathematical thought. With evidence both historical and contemporary, I anticipate the argument that the Celtic knot can be a powerful alternative to other figurations in Anglo-American rhetoric of science--and that the knot may be specially poised to help the development of nonlinear argumentation in an emerging age of complexity (vs. reductivist) science.
An Actor-Network Approach to the Textual Analysis of a Forest Plan
This essay posits an actor-network theory (ANT) approach to the interpretation of an environmental text in land and resource management planning. As scientific thought and practice come to embrace complexity over linearity as the guiding paradigm, so too are human-nature relationships reconstituted and renegotiated accordingly in environmental science writing. Through an ANT-inspired lens, which celebrates rather than suppresses or ignores the power of nonhuman actors, we analyze a 2013 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) text: The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Revised Land Management Plan (MP) of the Idaho Panhandle National Forests (IPNF). Our reading pays special attention to the text’s portrayal of stream ecology and its relationship to forest ecosystem functioning for illustrative purposes. In doing so, we continue building groundwork for inter- and transdisciplinary environmental thought in twenty-first century environmental science. We argue for the importance of actor-network theory in environmental studies because it amplifies the agency of nonhuman actors, a realization with resonant meaning for human thought and action in natural resource decision making. Equally, while ANT has been met with popularity in writing studies, we seek to add an environmental focus on primarily nonhuman activity.
The Rhetoric of Literacy for Science
This paper offers an examination of literacy and critical thinking constructs both involved in, and excluded from, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Under special consideration are the conference proceedings of Literacy for Science (2014), meant to address the coordination of Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts (CCSS for ELA) and NGSS science and engineering practices. In essence, I argue that rhetorical concepts of audience, authorship, and genre awareness could offer enormous value to the theory and practice of the standards as they are currently understood. The article discusses implications for classroom science writing at the secondary and college levels.
The Aran Islander in the Late Irish Literary Renaissance
The Aran Islands have been the object of special attention for centuries, famous as a place of "authentic" Irish character in art, language, music, archaeology, and even in landscape itself. In the critical historic moment of the Irish Literary Renaissance, when members of the elite invested in the task of "recovering" ancient, autonomous Ireland, nowhere could the past be made more readily present than among the "primitive" Aran Islanders. This is clear enough among present-day tourist literatures that promise a trip to the Islands will be "a step back in time"--borrowed heavily from the insights and imagery of J.M. Synge's famous travel logs, The Aran Islands. In this thesis, I examine Synge's Aran Islands and his one-act drama Riders to the Sea, Robert Flaherty's film documentary Man of Aran, and selected short stories by Liam O'Flaherty and his Tourist's Guide to Ireland. The authors of these texts affirm a connection not just to the distant Irish past, but to the Irish land itself, as an ecocritical perspective reveals. This shared experience of the environment, as I argue, allows for these writers and artists to negotiate freely between the otherwise rigid binary of "insider" and "outsider," or, in turn, the "native/oral" vs. "colonial/picturesque." Each has a common interest in extolling the island peasant through his comparison or conceived "closeness" to nature, but for different rhetorical purposes: in Synge's case, towards the creation of a living museum; in Robert Flaherty's case, to glorify the hardiness of spirit that comes with a life of manual labor and repeated sufferings to entertain an imperial commercial audience; and in Liam O'Flaherty's case, to embrace self-consciously the animalistic and "brutish" associations from colonial discourse as a vehicle for political dissidence and imminent jacquerie. I combine ecocriticism, postcolonial theory, space and place theory, and insights from Irish studies and island studies in my approach to the primary texts.
Warning Sings: Toxic Air Pollution Identified at Oil and Gas Development Sites
In the summer of 2013, I spent six weeks in Clark, Wyoming as an intern for Deb Thomas, community organizer at the Powder River Basin Resource Council. Apart from my fieldwork collecting air samples at oil and gas exploration sites, I conducted interviews with residents in Clark and other nearby towns in northwestern Wyoming and worked on the early drafts of a formal report. This data went on to inform Warning Signs, a joint effort of Coming Clean and Global Community Monitor.
Notes, Reflections, and Personal Writing
A short musing on place-based writing, a theme that originally drew me to the field of writing studies.Read More
In this essay, I theorize a "multimodal" and "infrastructural" framework for composition pedagogy, inspired by universal design for learning (UDL).Read More
I began my career in formal education as a paraprofessional at Ridge and Valley Charter School, an elementary and middle school inspired by Montessori and Waldorf philosophies of self-guided learning, experiential and outdoor education, Earth literacy and sustainability, whole-student qualitative assessment (as opposed to report cards), and integrated lenses and multi-age groupings (as opposed to … Continue readingRead More
“She engaged in the classroom with her personality and always tried doing something different to start off the class. She gave a lot of her feedback truthfully and it made it seem like she really did go through and thought my writing not just getting it done with.” “Constantly positive and was always well-equipped to … Continue readingRead More
edsouza at umn.edu
Dept. of Writing Studies
315 Pillsbury Drive SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455