Beyond the Pulpit: Women's Rhetorical Roles in the Antebellum Religious Press (Composition, Literacy, and Culture)
Lisa Shaver (Author)
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In the formative years of the Methodist Church in the United States, women played significant roles as proselytizers, organizers, lay ministers, and majority members. Although womenAEs participation helped the church to become the nationAEs largest denomination by the mid-nineteenth century, their official roles diminished during that time. In Beyond the Pulpit, Lisa Shaver examines Methodist periodicals as a rhetorical space to which women turned to find, and make, self-meaning. In 1818, Methodist Magazine first published \u201cmemoirs\u201d that eulogized women as powerful witnesses for their faith on their deathbeds. As Shaver observes, it was only in death that a woman could achieve the status of minister. Another Methodist publication, the Christian Advocate, was AmericaAEs largest circulated weekly by the mid-1830s. It featured the \u201cLadiesAE Department,\u201d a column that reinforced the canon of women as dutiful wives, mothers, and household managers. Here, the church also affirmed women in the important rhetorical and evangelical role of domestic preacher. Outside the \u201cLadies Department,\u201d women increasingly appeared in \u201clittle narratives\u201d in which they were portrayed as models of piety and charity, benefactors, organizers, Sunday school administrators and teachers, missionaries, and ministersAE assistants. These texts cast women into nondomestic roles that were institutionally sanctioned and widely disseminated. By 1841, the LadiesAE Repository and Gatherings of the West was engaging women in discussions of religion, politics, education, science, and a variety of intellectual debates. As Shaver posits, by providing a forum for women writers and readers, the church gave them an official rhetorical space and the license to define their own roles and spheres of influence. As such, the periodicals of the Methodist church became an important public venue in which womenAEs voices were heard and their identities explored.
About the Author
Lisa Shaver is associate professor in professional writing and rhetoric and director of women's and gender studies at Baylor University. She is the author of Beyond the Pulpit: Women's Rhetorical Roles in the Antebellum Religious Press.
- Contributor: Lisa Shaver
- Imprint: University of Pittsburgh Press
- ISBN13: 9780822961697
- Number of Pages: 184
- Packaged Dimensions: 150x230mm
- Format: Paperback
- Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
- Release Date: 2012-01-04
- Series: Composition, Literacy, and Culture
- Binding: Paperback / softback
- Biography: Lisa Shaver is associate professor in professional writing and rhetoric and director of women's and gender studies at Baylor University. She is the author of Beyond the Pulpit: Women's Rhetorical Roles in the Antebellum Religious Press.