Cheryl Glenn and Heather Brook Adams
The Pennsylvania State University
An integral feature of the rhetorical tradition continues to be the gendered limitations and opportunities for writing and speaking. As a public, political, and persuasive practice, Western rhetoric has long been the province of males only. Because the rhetorical tradition has long privileged men’s public speaking and writing, supposedly apolitical women were discouraged, if not forbidden, from participating discursively in the public sphere. Women’s “private” discursive practices (such as letter writing, cooking and health-related instruction, and translation), on the other hand, were socially sanctioned as benign, not (yet) considered to be sites of “real” rhetorical activity.
Within the last fifteen years, feminist historiographers have recuperated many women as rhetorical theorists and practitioners, despite the male-centered rhetorical tradition. This concerted effort to write women back into the history of rhetoric continues to illustrate the numerous ways in which women have contributed to the rhetorical tradition, whether those contributions have appeared within or without the realm of public discourse.
In addition to feminist recovery work, many scholars are relying on gender studies to account for the power differentials that continue to inflect rhetorical history and practice—and composition studies as well. To that end, a number of scholars have demonstrated the many ways (pay, respect, hiring) in which composition is a feminized discipline, following a line of inquiry that (not coincidentally) implicates the central role women have played in the teaching of writing. From these inquiries, the story of rhetoric and composition continues to be renegotiated and revised.
Advances in the History of Rhetoric http://www.advances.umd.edu/
College Composition and Communication http://www.ncte.org/cccc/ccc
College English http://www.ncte.org/journals/ce
Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy http://inscribe.iupress.org/loi/hyp
Quartery Journal of Speech http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/RQJS
Rhetoric Review http://www.rhetoricreview.com
Rhetoric Society Quarterly http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/RRSQ
Women’s Studies in Communication http://www.cios.org/www/wommain.htm
Berkshire Conference of Women Historians http://www.berksconference.org
Coalition of Women Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition http://cwshrc.org
Organization for Research on Women and Communication http://www.orwac.org/about.html
Relevant Web Sites
Bibliography in Feminist Research and Gender Issues in Rhetoric and Composition http://www.ncte.org/cccc/committees/statusofwomen/bibliography
Feminist Pedagogies: Some Sources for Composition and Rhetoric (compiled by Rebecca Moore Howard) http://wrt-howard.syr.edu/Bibs/FemPed.htm
Feminist Rhetorics: Some sources (compiled by Rebecca Moore Howard) http://wrt-howard.syr.edu/Bibs/FemRhet.htm
Relevant Email Discussion Lists
Rhetoric and Feminism http://culturecat.net/portal