Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Carolyn S. Ellis, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Darrell J. Fasching, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Arthur P. Bochner, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kenneth N. Cissna, Ph.D.


Alienation, Autoethnography, Identity, Narrative, Nepantlera, Suffering


Dissonance exists in efforts to communicate about suffering and despair. Showcasing common societal flawed reactions to despair begs for discourse to create a more communicatively healthy response. Attempting to communicate the suffering of others and feeling like I was failing at that goal led to my own suffering. Using writing as a method of personal healing created an intersection of personal narratives of suffering and victim’s narratives (which can arguable only allow for the co-opting of the story and narcissism). Grappling with the limits of writing to heal provided a lens to see the victim’s narratives in such a way that created self-reflexivity. Rather than equating the suffering of the victim’s to my own, which I absolutely do not do, instead I found potential answers to despair in the post-Holocaust theologians. This dissertation is an experiment in trying to communicate suffering and meaning in a post-Holocaust world where my story and the survivors stories both have similarities of theological despair, an ethic of defiance, and most certainly a refusal to be changed by the world.