Saturday, July 12, 2008

CFP: "Feminist Rhetorics for Social Justice," Syracuse University, October 23-25, 2008.

In the academy, Feminist Rhetorics has, over the past two decades, become a very promising interdisciplinary field, spanning communication studies, women’s studies, rhetoric and writing studies, various branches of ethnic studies, and even branches of the social sciences. In a general sense, the term feminist rhetorics has referred to “to discourse advocating enlarged legal, economic, and political rights for women” (Karlyn Kohrs Campbell “Feminist Rhetoric” 301). Feminist rhetorics also have served as a way to document and analyze the multi-layered histories of feminist social movements. Scholars of feminist rhetorics have undertaken a large-scale historical recovery project that involves recovering, analyzing, and anthologizing speeches and written texts by feminist activists, organizers, and writers. There are now graduate seminars taught nationally on feminist rhetorics and many graduate students in communication studies and rhetorical studies are choosing to focus their work in this area, often blending scholarship and activism. In addition to focusing on the historical past, feminist rhetoricians also have studied and participated in strategies and movements for contemporary feminist social change in the arenas of public policy, politics, education, the workplace, and community organizing. Our major themes and questions for the symposium will be as follows: 

Feminist Activism and Rhetoric:
  • How can we evaluate and understand the influence of women’s historical, geographic, economic, social, and political locations on rhetorical tactics and strategies for feminist activism?
  • How can we understand the roles that individuals or groups take in maintaining or dismantling gender-based inequalities at local, national, and transnational levels?
  • How can we address the presumed division between scholarly theorizing and activist work, and how can rhetoric be a tool for bridging that presumed divide?
Feminist Rhetorical Histories:
  • Which rhetorical histories have been recovered, and which have been omitted? What generational and social movement tensions are present in these feminist rhetorical histories?
  • What role has public memory played in feminist rhetorical histories? How have feminist rhetorical histories accounted for the histories and experiences of aging women, women with disabilities, working class women, women of color, lesbian and transgendered people, women living beyond the borders of the U.S. and Europe?
  • How have rhetorical histories challenged the primary focus on the Anglo-American context as scholars have begun to engage transnational feminist rhetorical histories and contemporary practices?
Further information is available on the conference homepage:

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