Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Preferred Name

Leanna Smithberger


Date of Award

Spring 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


School of Communication Studies


Alison Fisher Bodkin


This thesis is a personal exploration of American car culture — the roads the enable it, the everyday actions that sustain it, and the values that justify it. I use a constellation of mobilities, autoethnography, and rhythmanalysis in order to generate a glimpse into the rhythm of our road-centered culture — how it shapes and constrains our lives in mundane and extraordinary ways, why it is largely taken for granted, and why it is so stubbornly persistent. I use a variety of artistic, evocative methods, including narrative, poetry, and music, because I argue that knowing is not enough — we must feel it in our guts if we ever hope to enact change. I contribute the explicit use of rhythmanalysis as a way of bridging the divide between mobilities and autoethnography, and the use of music composition as a method of inquiry.