Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

William Muth

Second Advisor

Ross Collin

Third Advisor

Kurt Stemhagen

Fourth Advisor

Kirk Richardson


This post-qualitative inquiry project investigated subjectivity (sense of self) among graduates of creative writing Master of Fine Arts (MFA) programs. The project asked how subjectivity is involved in the creative writing process and how that process fuels further writing after a creative piece (such as the MFA thesis) is completed. A post-qualitative, thinking-with-theory approach was used to explore the role of subjectivity among four anonymous graduates of creative writing MFA programs who provided writing samples describing their creative writing processes. Following the thinking-with-theory approach, the data were analyzed using Deleuze and Guattari’s theory of productive desire. Study findings are presented in two formats. First, a traditional, qualitative presentation of findings describes how unconscious desires develop a beneficial weakening of subjectivity that may encourage creative writers to continue writing after completion of the MFA degree. Next, further findings are presented via a nonlinear, rhizomatic data assemblage. The project concludes with recommendations for the use of Deleuzian productive desire as a pedagogical framework in graduate-level creative writing courses, as well as a call for the consideration of post-qualitative research methods in the field of education.


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