Volume 20 | Issue 1:
Peitho 20.1, our Fall/Winter 2017 issue, is being released during a fraught political and cultural moment. The work in this issue intends to assist us all in the struggle, by making us re-see how even foundational feminist work needs to be challenged during difficult times.
Texas A & M Professor Carolyn Jan Swearingen would have been 69 on August 18, 2017. She died on June 1, 2017, after being diagnosed with a mean and aggressive form of cancer in early December 2016. A powerful classicist, stalwart feminist, loyal colleague, and loving friend, Jan is remembered by many of us who worked closely with her.
The following professional tributes could be ordered in a number of ways, but I’ve chosen to arrange them from the personal to the pedagogical to the professional. All of these tributes offer harmonious tones of mourning, celebration, and appreciation. The final tribute offers advice on how we might best continue to honor Jan’s intellectual legacy.—Cheryl Glenn
Abstract: This essay reintroduces the nineteenth-century anti-polygamy lecturer, Ann Eliza Young; examines the rhetorical strategies the estranged nineteenth wife of Brigham Young employed to achieve her aims; and argues that she emerges for historians and theorists of rhetoric as an unexpectedly heuristic figure, affording insights into the dynamics of incremental persuasion and the networked nature of rhetorical agency. After familiarizing readers with her career and the criticisms she faced, I analyze how, by drawing on the resources offered by anti-Mormon rhetoric and fiction and by developing embodied and ethical arguments that challenged audiences to form identifications expanding their conceptions of who could be a speaker, Young was able to reframe the Mormon question so that her listeners and readers might engage more productively with what was ultimately at stake in cultural conversations about the problem of polygamy.
Keywords: nineteenth-century, women, rhetoric, agency, history
Abstract: This essay examines the rhetorical strategies of Ursula Nordstrom, a lesbian editor at Harper and Row from 1931-1980 who had a progressive vision for children’s literature. Nordstrom’s charismatic ethos enabled her to achieve professional success, as did a vital network of women. The essay asserts that Adrienne Rich’s concept of the lesbian continuum is relevant for understanding the role Nordstrom’s network played in her career. While positioning children’s publishing as a worthy site to study workplace communication, the essay also explores how the inaccessibility of women’s corporate archive, as well as the shifting intersubjective space between the researcher and the subject over time, impacts feminist historiography.
Keywords: workplace writing, corporate archives, lesbian, queer, historiography, literacy sponsorship, strategic contemplation
Abstract: The article is a rhetorical analysis of a state-mandated parenting class for divorcing partners. The analysis is deployed through a gender and affect studies lens and preceded by a narrative account of a class in Ohio. The thesis of the article is that mandatory parenting classes are justified through rhetorical means rather than pragmatic ones; I suggest that the primary effect of the classes is to shame parents rather than to benefit children.
Keywords: Rhetoric, Parenting, Divorce, Shame, Public Policy, Discourse Analysis, Demagoguery, Scapegoating
Abstract: Problems with slut shaming have received increased attention since the late 1990s, but actually changing rhetorics associated with the word “slut” is tricky. Two teen comedies that address slut shaming, Mean Girls (2004) and Easy A (2010), show how feminist conversations can become warped when translated into a mass market genre. The movies explicitly condemn slut shaming, but changing rhetoric involves addressing not simply the term “slut” but also underlying cultural narratives. The movies successfully challenge heteronormative competition and sexual double standards; however, they undo their positive messages as they rely on good girl/bad girl dichotomies that perpetuate slut shaming. These movies thus illustrate the difficulty in adopting feminist messages for commercial venues that are invested in wide public appeal.
Keywords: slut, slut shaming, teen movie, genre, Mean Girls, Easy A
Abstract: Maternal abortion narratives, in which mothers describe the experience of choosing to abort (and grieving the loss of) a wanted pregnancy, enable rhetors to construct maternal pro-choice ethē. This “between” ethos is achieved most saliently through the ways mother rhetors shape time in these narratives. In particular, this essay looks at the temporal dimension of the ethos-building in former Texas State Senator Wendy Davis’s memoir Forgetting to Be Afraid. Davis deftly provides insight into the ways that women’s rhetoric can resist and potentially change the lived temporalities of women in the future, thereby enabling broader possibilities for ethē construction.
Keywords: motherhood, time, ethos, Wendy Davis, reproductive rights, abortion
Abstract: This article articulates postpedagogy through a feminist disabilities studies (FDS) lens. FDS asks us to interrogate, reshape, and “reimagine” (Garland-Thomas 2005) how bodies interact with one another and their environment and emphasizes how language shapes this environment. It is important to incorporate FDS in postpedagogical classrooms because a pedagogy that seeks to “disequilibrate” (Santos & McIntyre 2016), “risk” (Rickert 2007), and create “uncertainty” (Lynch 2013) has the potential to create barriers for students with mental illnesses and trauma and further reinforce the systems of power that lead many of these students to leave school before finishing their degrees.
Keywords: postpedagogy, pedagogy, feminist disability studies, safe spaces, trigger warnings, accessibility
On March 15, 2017, the Coalition of Women Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition sponsored their annual special interest group (SIG) at the Conference on College Composition and Communication. The 2017 SIG—“Building Sustainable, Capable Lives or Tilting at Windmills?”—focused on the feminist issue of time (or lack thereof) that so many academics face. We invite you to join our feminist-scholars in exploring this issue by clicking the images below. While we provide you with recommendations for interacting with each presentation, you should feel free to engage with the material in whatever way feels best. We also encourage you to use the comment features to try prompts, synthesize and reflect, ask questions, and engage in conversations.