Preferred Name

Leanna Smithberger

Creative Commons License

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


Date of Graduation

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.



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