Anglo-American Feminist Challenges to the Rhetorical by Krista Ratcliffe

By Krista Ratcliffe

One of the few authors to outline and concentrate on feminist theories of rhetoric, Krista Ratcliffe takes Bathsheba s challenge as her controlling metaphor: "I have the emotions of a woman," says Bathsheba Everdene in Hardy s "Far from the Madding Crowd, ""but purely the language of men."

Although men and women have varied relationships to language and to one another, conventional theories of rhetoric don't foreground such gender modifications, Ratcliffe notes. She argues that feminist theories of rhetoric are wanted if we're to acknowledge, validate, and handle Bathsheba s difficulty.

Ratcliffe argues that simply because feminists typically haven't conceptualized their language theories from the viewpoint of rhetoric and composition reports, rhetoric and composition students needs to build feminist theories of rhetoric via using a number of interwoven techniques: recuperating misplaced or marginalized texts; rereading conventional rhetoric texts; extrapolating rhetorical theories from such nonrhetoric texts as letters, diaries, essays, cookbooks, and different resources; and developing their very own theories of rhetoric.

Focusing at the 3rd choice, Ratcliffe explores ways that the rhetorical theories of Virginia Woolf, Mary Daly, and Adrienne wealthy can be extrapolated from their Anglo-American feminist texts via exam of the interrelationship among what those authors write and the way they write. In different phrases, she extrapolates feminist theories of rhetoric from interwoven claims and textual innovations.

By inviting Woolf, Daly, and wealthy into the rhetorical traditions and through modeling the extrapolation strategy/methodology on their writings, Ratcliffe indicates how feminist texts approximately ladies, language, and tradition might be reread from the vantage aspect of rhetoric to build feminist theories of rhetoric. She rereads Anglo-American feminist texts either to reveal their white privilege and to rescue them from fees of naivete and essentialism. She additionally outlines the pedagogical implications of those 3 feminist theories of rhetoric, hence contributing to ongoing discussions of feminist pedagogies.

Traditional rhetorical theories are gender-blind, ignoring the truth that ladies and males occupy varied cultural areas and that those areas are additional advanced by means of race and sophistication, Ratcliffe explains. Arguing that concerns equivalent to who can speak, the place you'll speak, and the way you'll be able to speak emerge in lifestyle yet are usually skipped over in rhetorical theories, Ratcliffe rereads Roland Barthes "The outdated Rhetoric" to teach the constraints of classical rhetorical theories for girls and feminists. researching areas for feminist theories of rhetoric within the rhetorical traditions, Ratcliffe invitations readers not just to question how ladies were situated as part of and except those traditions but additionally to discover the consequences for rhetorical heritage, concept, and pedagogy.

In extrapolating rhetorical theories from 3 feminist writers no longer typically thought of rhetoricians, Ratcliffe creates a brand new version for reading girls s paintings. She situates the rhetorical theories of Woolf, Daly, and wealthy inside present discussions approximately feminist pedagogy, really the interweavings of serious considering, studying, and writing. Ratcliffe concludes with an software to educating.

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Extra resources for Anglo-American Feminist Challenges to the Rhetorical Traditions: Virginia Woolf, Mary Daly, Adrienne Rich

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Once recovered, women's rhetorical theories may be constructed into a separate rhetorical tradition or incorporated into the existing corpus of rhetorical theories. The first option assumes a gynocritical stance that emphasizes differences among women's texts, as exemplified in Andrea Lunsford's Reclaiming Rhetorica and Mary Ellen Waithe's two-volume A History of Women Philosophers. The second option assumes a desegregated stance that puts women's theories into play "equally" with men's, as attempted in Patricia Bizzell and Bruce Herzberg's The Rhetorical Tradition.

But whenever I felt overwhelmed, I would flash back to a scene with my mother. " It seems Ramona, my mom's next-door neighbor, had been asking about me and my job. I hesitated, wondering how to make my work sensible to my mother so that she, in turn, could make it sensible to Ramona. But I need not have worried. Mother filled the gap for me. "Well," she continued, "I just told Ramona that you read about women and get mad. " Once again, my mother proved herself more sensible than I. " I cannot conclude without offering thanks to the three feminists whose words have inspired this project.

I want to thank Curtis Clark, Carol Burns, and John Wilson at Southern Illinois University Press for supporting this project. I want to thank the reviewers (especially Susan Jarratt) for thought-provoking comments that challenged me and ultimately made this project far richer in both process and product. I want to thank the graduate students from my 1991 feminist rhetoric seminar for conversations that still echo in my ears: Marduk Alkaus, Melissa Deutsch, Lisa Higgins, Jim Jackson, Elizabeth Jared, Dana Kinnison, Anna Lovern, Ron Mitchell, Simone Novak, Kevin Parker, Marty Patton, Cathy Quick, Ray Slavens, Bonnie Vegiard, and Chloe Vincent.

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