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Feminist Rhetorical Resilience

Elizabeth A. Flynn, Patricia Sotirin, and Ann Brady

Publication Year: 2012

Although it is well known in other fields, the concept of “resilience” has not been addressed explicitly by feminist rhetoricians. This collection develops it in readings of rhetorical situations across a range of social contexts and national cultures. Contributors demonstrate that resilience offers an important new conceptual frame for feminist rhetoric, with emphasis on agency, change, and hope in the daily lives of individuals or groups of individuals disempowered by social or material forces. Collectively, these chapters create a robust conception of resilience as a complex rhetorical process, redeeming it from its popular association with individual heroism through an important focus on relationality, community, and an ethics of connection. Resilience, in this volume, is a specifically rhetorical response to complicated forces in individual lives. Through it, Feminist Rhetorical Resilience widens the interpretive space within which rhetoricians can work.

Published by: Utah State University Press


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

This book had its origins at the Fifth Biennial International Feminism(s) and Rhetoric(s) Conference, “Affirming Diversity,” coordinated by the three of us and held at Michigan Tech October 5-8, 2005. The seven essays that appear here began as papers presented at the conference...

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Introduction. Feminist Rhetorical Resilience—Possibilities and Impossibilities

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pp. 1-29

Resilience is a powerful metaphor that, although heretofore absent from conversations within feminist rhetoric, can refocus the field in very productive ways. While similar to metaphors used previously by feminist rhetoricians, it is also distinct in that it places greater emphasis on agency,...

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1. Vandana Shiva and the Rhetorics of Biodiversity: Engaging Difference and Transnational Feminist Solidarities in a Globalized World in a Globalized World

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pp. 30-53

In “Global Turns and Cautions in Rhetoric and Composition Studies,” Wendy Hesford examines how “scholars in rhetoric and composition studies are meaningfully contributing to conversations about the pressures of globalization and the consequences of the new US nationalism.”...

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Response. On the Politics of Writing Transnational Rhetoric: Possibilities and Pitfalls

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pp. 54-56

Centered in the ethics of transnational feminism, the struggles of political and economic globalism, and the issues of biopiracy, intellectual piracy, biotechnology, and the patenting of biological life forms, Eileen Schell both introduces and analyzes the rhetoric of Indian environmentalist...

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pp. 57-58

Understanding the mutidimensional rhetoric of Vandana Shiva requires rhetorical stretching and imagining. Shiva’s rhetorical influences and geopolitical identifications are multiple and intersecting. Shiva is a transnational figure who addresses audiences in...

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2. The Traveling Fado

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pp. 59-81

A fado is a Portuguese folk song characterized by saudade, a word that means “longing,” “intense sadness,” “nostalgia,” “a missing,” “a lack,” “a desire,” “a love.” It is akin to the Russian word toska, a pulling of one’s soul towards something just out of reach. This “something,” for the sailors...

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Response. Traveling Literacies

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pp. 82-88

Kate Vieira’s “The Traveling Fado” is a fusion, a critical analysis that traverses new literacy studies, rhetorica, transnationalism, and creative nonfiction. To read her essay is to start with one ethnic group in one location, Azorean Americans in South Mills, and to take excursions into...

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pp. 89-90

Janet Eldred’s generous response illuminates much that we share: the contradiction of ethnic pride and ethnic shame enacted across the “national hysteria” of race, the history of migration that refuses to be “thrown overboard,” a taste for linguiça on pizza. And yet. I was never...

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3. Virginity and Hymen Reconstructions: Rural, Migrant Women as Agents of Literate Practices in Turkey

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pp. 91-109

It was the early 1990s when news of virginity examinations swept the nation in Turkey. The reports of both the Turkish and Western media were consistently revealing stories about virginity examinations conducted on women. As the world began to read about the exams, the...

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Response. Problematizing Literacy

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pp. 110-112

Not since Cher had her ribs broken to achieve a smaller waist has anyone been surprised at the ways women reconfigure their bodies in an effort to appear more desirable both to themselves and to men. Breast augmentation, labia reduction, hiney lifts, and body sculpting are common...

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pp. 113-115

Elizabeth Chiseri-Strater, in her response to my essay, states that some brutal and dangerous practices need to be read in culturally specific ways and that to do this we must step into a culture to understand these practices. This thinking raises a series of problems, one of which is...

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4. Diversity and the Flexible Subject in the Language of Spousal/ Partner Hiring Policies

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pp. 116-138

In the past, solutions to the “dual-career-couple problem” have largely depended on case-by-case efforts to piece together accommodation offers when there is an immediate need to attract or retain a desirable job candidate. But change is occurring in this regard, with universities...

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Response. Expanding the Sites of Struggle over the “Flexible Subject” in Academe

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pp. 139-141

At the outset, permit me to note that my own academic career has been long enough that I have observed the transition from institutional policies against spousal/partner hiring on the grounds that such hires would constitute nepotism to current institutional policies explicitly...

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pp. 142-143

Like Rose, I am in a department that includes a number of married couples in which both partners are employed in tenure-track or tenured positions. We also have faculty members whose spouses or partners have become employed in other departments as a result of dual-couplecareer...

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5. A Case Study in Resilience: Fabricating a Feminine Self in a Man-Made Era

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pp. 144-173

The texts excerpted above are taken from two sources. The first comes from an article published in 1928 in the Journal of Heredity by one author of California’s compulsory sterilization laws. The second comes from a case file contained in the archives of the Luella M. Hannan...

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Response. Philanthropy as Interpretation, Not Charity: Jane Addams’s Civic Housekeeping as Another Response to the Progressive Era

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pp. 174-177

“Fabricating a Feminine Self” got me thinking about another effort at helping women during the Progressive Era, one that coincides with the work of the Hannan Foundation and operated just west of Detroit and Hudson’s, the department store that Fontia R. so wanted to shop in,...

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pp. 178-180

I begin to write within thirty seconds of my first reading of Kate Ronald’s response to my essay about my now much-loved Fontia R., and my first thought is simply—what a wonderful response! And then I take a break for lunch because, as always, Kate has given me a lot...

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6. From “Mothers of the Nation” to “Mothers of the Race”: Nineteenth-Century Feminists and Eugenic Rhetoric

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pp. 181-204

Throughout the nineteenth century, women argued for education and other rights on the basis of “Republican motherhood”—they would be raising the nation’s future citizens.1 In the late nineteenth century, however, women’s importance as the bearers of these future citizens,...

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Response. Strategic Collusion in the History of American Women Rhetors

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pp. 205-208

In “From Mothers of the Nation to Mothers of the Race: Nineteenth-Century Feminists and Eugenic Rhetoric,” Wendy Hayden examines how nineteenth-century American feminists combined a “mother of the race” rhetoric with popular theories of eugenics to justify more...

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pp. 209-210

In a post-Darwinian world, feminists who used eugenic “mothers of the race” rhetoric to support women’s rights not only colluded with ideologies that go against feminist values, but also helped shape the eugenic ideology that emerged decades later. The collusion of feminist...

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7. No One Wants to Go There: Resilience, Denial, and Possibilities for Queering the Writing Classroom

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pp. 211-240

This chapter began with a regional conference paper presentation a few years ago.1 The theme of the conference was Teaching Writing in Diverse Settings. Our panel was the only one on the agenda that examined gender and sexual diversity yet there were few people in the...

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Response. On Impossibility

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pp. 241-246

We’ll begin by revealing a new bias we have come to have as queer compositionists: it’s impossible for composition, really, to fully engage with the queer. We thus approach DiGrazia and Rosenberg’s article from an angle, perhaps a particularly queer angle; given our sense of...

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pp. 247-249

Jacqueline Rhodes and Jonathan Alexander’s “On Impossibility,” their response to our essay, challenges us again to examine how our desire to queer the writing classroom can be hopeful and productive. Given the shortcomings of any institutionalized field, including our...

About the Authors

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pp. 250-253


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pp. 254-259

E-ISBN-13: 9780874218794
Print-ISBN-13: 9780874218787

Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2012

Edition: 1