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Women and Rhetoric between the Wars

Women and Rhetoric between the Wars

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Ann George, M. Elizabeth Weiser, and Janet Zepernick




Studies in Rhetorics and Feminisms


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About the Book

In Women and Rhetoric between the Wars, editors Ann George, M. Elizabeth Weiser, and Janet Zepernick have gathered together insightful essays from major scholars on women whose practices and theories helped shape the field of modern rhetoric. Examining the period between World War I and World War II, this volume sheds light on the forgotten rhetorical work done by the women of that time. It also goes beyond recovery to develop new methodologies for future research in the field.

Collected within are analyses of familiar figures such as Jane Addams, Amelia Earhart, Helen Keller, and Bessie Smith, as well as explorations of less well known, yet nevertheless influential, women such as Zitkala-Ša, Jovita González, and Florence Sabin. Contributors evaluate the forces in the civic, entertainment, and academic scenes that influenced the rhetorical praxis of these women. Each essay presents examples of women’s rhetoric that move us away from the “waves” model toward a more accurate understanding of women’s multiple, diverse rhetorical interventions in public discourse. The collection thus creates a new understanding of historiography, the rise of modern rhetorical theory, and the role of women professionals after suffrage. From celebrities to scientists, suffragettes to academics, the dynamic women of this volume speak eloquently to the field of rhetoric studies today.


Ann George is associate professor of English at Texas Christian University and coauthor of Kenneth Burke in the 1930s.

M. Elizabeth Weiser is an associate professor of English at The Ohio State University, the author of Burke, War, Words: Rhetoricizing Dramatism, and a coeditor of Engaging Audience: Writing in an Age of New Literacies.

Janet Zepernick is assistant professor of English at Pittsburg State University (Kansas) and has published work on disciplinarity and transfer in the Journal of the Council of Writing Program Administrators.


Women and Rhetoric between the Wars is an original contribution in terms of content and theory adding a great deal to our understanding and appreciation of women’s rhetoric. The essays are rife with new insights and information. I can truly say I learned something on every page.”—Karyn Hollis, director, Concentration in Writing and Rhetoric, Villanova University