In 1917, Alice Paul and other suffragists famously picketed in front of the White House while holding banners with short, pithy sayings such as “Mr. President: How long must women wait for Liberty?” Their juxtaposition of this short phrase with the image of the White House (a symbol of liberty and justice) relies on the same rhetorical tactics as memes, a genre contemporary feminists use frequently to make arguments about reproductive rights, Black Lives Matter, sex-positivity, and more. Many such connections between feminists of different spaces, places, and eras have yet to be considered, let alone understood. Feminist Connections: Rhetoric and Activism across Time, Space, and Place reconsiders feminist rhetorical strategies as linked, intergenerational, and surprisingly consistent despite the emergence of new forms of media and intersectional considerations.
Contributors to this volume highlight continuities in feminist rhetorical practices that are often invisible to scholars, obscured by time, new media, and wildly different cultural, political, and social contexts. Thus, this collection takes a nonchronological approach to the study of feminist rhetoric, grouping chapters by rhetorical practice rather than time, content, or choice of media.
By connecting historical, contemporary, and future trajectories, this collection develops three feminist rhetorical frameworks: revisionary rhetorics, circulatory rhetorics, and response rhetorics. A theorization of these frameworks explains how feminist rhetorical practices (past and present) rely on similar but diverse methods to create change and fight oppression. Identifying these strategies not only helps us rethink feminist rhetoric from an academic perspective but also allows us to enact feminist activist rhetorics beyond the academy during a time in which feminist scholarship cannot afford to remain behind its hallowed yet insular walls.
List of Illustrations
Foreword: Writing against Reactionary Logics by Tarez Samra Graban
Introduction. Exposing Feminist Connections by Katherine Fredlund, Kerri Hauman, and Jessica Ouellette
Part I. Revisionary Rhetorics by Kerri Hauman
Chapter 1. Seneca Falls, Strategic Mythmaking, and a Feminist Politics of Relation by Jill Swiencicki, Maria Brandt, Barbara LeSavoy, and Deborah Uman
Chapter 2. Epideictic Rhetoric and Emergent Media: From CAM to BLM by Tara Propper
Chapter 3. Recruitment Tropes: Historicizing the Spaces and Bodies of Women Technical Workers by Risa Applegarth, Sarah Hallenbeck, and Chelsea Redeker Milbourne
Chapter 4. Take Once Daily: Queer Theory, Biopolitics, and the Rhetoric of Personal Responsibility by Kellie Jean Sharp
Part II. Circulatory Rhetorics by Jessica Ouellette
Chapter 5. She’s Everywhere, All the Time: How the #Dispatch Interviews Created a Sisterhood of Feminist Travelers by Kristin Winet
Chapter 6. From Victorian Novels to #LikeALadyDoc: Women Physicians Strengthening Professional Ethos in the Public Sphere by Kristin E. Kondrlik
Chapter 7. Feminist Rhetorical Strategies and Networked Activist Movements: #SayHerName as Circulatory Activist Discourse by Liz Lane
Chapter 8. From US Progressive Era Speeches to Transnational Social Media Activism: Rhetorical Empathy in Jane Addams’s Labor Rhetoric and Joyce Fernandes’s #EuEmpregadaDoméstica (I, Housemaid) by Lisa Blankenship
Part III. Response Rhetorics by Katherine Fredlund
Chapter 9. “Anonymous Was a Woman”: Anonymous Authorship as Rhetorical Strategy by Skye Roberson
Chapter 10. Tracing the Conversation: Legitimizing Mormon Feminism by Tiffany Kinney
Chapter 11. The Suffragist Movement and the Early Feminist Blogosphere: Feminism and Recent History of Rhetoric by Clancy Ratliff
Chapter 12. Mikki Kendall, Ida B. Wells, and #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen: Women of Color Calling Out White Feminism in the Nineteenth Century and the Digital Age by Paige V. Banaji
Chapter 13. The Persuasive Power of Individual Stories: The Rhetoric in Narrative Archives by Bethany Mannon
Afterword. (Techno)Feminist Rhetorical Action: Coming Full Circle by Kristine L. Blair
List of Contributors
“This collection puts forward a groundbreaking methodology for exploring connections between feminist texts across time. Asking critics to momentarily suspend context, content, and media, the contributors foreground similarities between rhetorical strategies that emerged at different moments of feminist activism. This method enables critics to see the interstitial and intersectional relationships between and among feminist rhetorics of all eras, arguments, and media. This methodology enables critics to put into conversation Victorian novels with #LikeALadyDoc, Ida B. Wells with #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen, Jane Addams with #EuEmpregadaDoméstica, women telegraphers with women coders, and early birth control technology with HIV prevention drugs.”
—Belinda A. Stillion Southard, author of How to Belong: Women’s Agency in a Transnational World
"This beautiful collection of essays puts time, place, and space into rhetorical conversations that revisit and mash up traditional components of classical rhetoric. The editors clearly organize these interesting articles into three sections (revisionary, circulatory, response) that break new ground in archival and feminist research—focusing on various technologies, genres, and digital collections/work. Highlighting available means and rhetorical strategies, contributors address nuances of Rhetorical Transversal Methodology (RTM) in ways that illuminate/reify enduring significance of narratives we already know while shining light on new stories/storytelling. The result is most impressive, producing new theories for future research, novel understandings of both historical social movements and our own, and models for re-envisioning archival research methods and delivering these findings."
—judges' citation for the Winifred Bryan Horner Outstanding Book Award from the Coalition of Feminist Scholars in the History of Rhetoric Composition (honorable mention)
“In their beautifully conceived and timely anthology, Feminist Connections: Rhetoric and Activism across Time, Space and Place, Katherine Fredlund, Kerri Hauman, and Jessica Ouellette manage what has seemed to be impossible. They’ve successfully disrupted feminist reception histories while seamlessly illuminating feminist social movement histories, feminist rhetorical strategies (both means and tools), and feminist technological epistemologies. Their collection, anchored in a method they refer to as ‘Rhetorical Transversal Methodology’ (or RTM), prompts readers to face twenty-first-century questions of ‘feminist rhetorical practices’; ‘historiographic relationships, intersections, and trajectories’; and the constitution of ‘digital work’ itself.”
—Cheryl Glenn, University Distinguished Professor of English, Penn State University, and author of Rhetorical Feminism and This Thing Called Hope