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Women and Rhetoric Between the Wars

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Southern Illinois Univ Pr
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Women and Rhetoric between the Wars reveals the range of overlooked rhetorical work done by women between World War I and World War II. Volume editors Ann George, Elizabeth Weiser, and Janet Zepernick have put together a collection of essays that looks at the rhetorical practices of individual women from diverse socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds and women's communal rhetorical practices in the Girl Scouts, writing in the sciences, and anthropology texts. The collection is divided into three sections: Voluntary Associations for the Civic Sce≠ Popular Celebrity in the Epideictic Sce≠ and Academia and the Scene of Professionalism. Several essays examine familiar figures-Jane Addams, Amelia Earhart, Helen Keller, and Bessie Smith-in new ways and consider how the work of each woman was shaped by powerful rhetorical practices. Other essays discuss influential but now largely forgotten women-Nannie Helen Burroughs, Dorothy Day, Frances Perkins, Gertrude Bonnin/Zitkala-Ša, and Julia Grace Wales-who used their rhetorical practices in social justice movements. Essays in the collection also look at women who shaped our present-day understanding of their academic fields-Jovita Gonzáles, Adele Bildersee, and Helen Gray Co≠ women active in the labor movement-including Aunt Molly Jackson; and pioneering women pilots-including Bessie Coleman, the first African American pilot to hold an international license. Each essay carefully analyzes the rhetorical strategies and impact of each woman's practices, including the development of the rhetorical theory itself. This study contends the life's work of each of these women illustrates and exemplifies the rhetorical possibilities of her era. The essays trace the historiography of that rhetoric. George, Weiser, and Zepernick urge the field to move beyond recovery, the traditional focus of feminist historiography, and create a usable past for women and rhetoric that informs the present and future discipline. Essays in the collection actively model new methodological approaches to the historiography of rhetorical theory and practice.

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