Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Speech Communication

First Advisor

Pensoneau-Conway, Sandra

Second Advisor

Gray, Jonathan


One way critical educators can understand and orient to Paulo Freire's work and the tradition he inspired is by turning their attention to the alienation and affirmation of what he describes as the "ontological vocation of being human." In this dissertation, I read across Freire's work in order to synthesize what I argue are three central commitments of his ontological vocation: 1) that the self/world are sociohistoric and 2) unfinished, and 3) that the human presence is historic. Next, I read Paulo Freire's more famous "banking" and "problem-posing" models of education through the lens of these commitments in order to demonstrate each as metonyms that stand in for his larger interests in alienating and humanizing cultural action. Finally, I argue that Deanna Fassett and John T. Warren's critical communication pedagogy can be a generative framework through which teachers and researchers can recognize and arrest the alienation of the ontological vocation.




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