Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts

Degree Name

Composition, Rhetoric, and Digital Media

First Advisor

Star Vanguri

Second Advisor

Kelly Concannon Mannise


This thesis is devoted to personal names and depicts how names both establish and destabilize identity. The collection of research gathered in this thesis demonstrates that names play an intriguing role in the construction of our lives, selves, and placement in society. It also considers names in childhood, and how names are one of the earliest signifiers of self-recognition and gender identification. Further, this thesis shows the impact social constructs have on names and the power of names to persuade people into making certain choices. This thesis concludes by demonstrating how unusual names can exclude, stereotype, or disadvantage people.