Digging through the past can uncover painful truths. As such, historiography that does not acknowledge negotiated spaces, cultural erasures, and flexible frameworks may fall short. It may limit both breadth and depth of the past, thereby (re)producing erasures, whereas a reflexive theoretical framework delivers not only depth and breadth, but it also adds texture and dimension to historical writing and research processes. It is for these purposes that the value of alternative methodologies is not situated at the margins of the rhetorical canons. Instead, it is embedded in the very core of the canons, defined as an element that works from the center, helping advance the study of rhetoric. Furthermore, strategic academic discourses that explicitly acknowledge interconnected identities and relationships offer invaluable perspectives on the productive tensions between objective and subjective approaches to historiography and archival research. Moreover, a growing number of rhetoric, writing, and technical communication scholars are writing their research stories, intentionally enriching both their processes and their outcomes in doing so. By developing an understanding of how research methodologies interact with writing regional histories and performing archival research, this study fosters current conversations in the field and advances an understanding of how research narratives enrich the rhetorical tradition. At the same time, it demonstrates three distinct writing voices—academic, narrative, and technical. The Coal Creek Insurrection (1891-1893) and the Coal Creek Company’s business archive (Knoxville, Tennessee) are the historical and archival focuses of this study.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/sumner-brown/1/