Just as women in Greek myth are cast in roles ranging from the helpless and innocent to the manipulative and powerful, so women throughout the history of rhetoric have represented themselves as fulfilling roles that range from dependents or enablers of male authority to autonomous agents acting on their own. These essays examine the tactics women have employed in self-representation and the feminist rhetorics that result. Contributors examine both past and present practices, highlighting correspondences between them and the ways those practices have varied, succeeded, or failed. Essays in part 1 consider how women historically have found ways to speak and write, while negotiating the limitations of their positions as women, as well as their spiritual, class, and ethnic roles. Essays in part 2 study the formal genres, strategies, and techniques female rhetoricians have used; and the essays of part 3 consider the contemporary challenges faced by women rhetors in a pluralistic world and the strategies and genres they have inherited and transformed. Collectively, the essays look at the rhetorical issue of roles and representations by criss-crossing time and selecting particular issues and/or figures to focus on. Rhetorical Women is unique in that it juxtaposes several concerns in order to spotlight the strategies of the women rhetors it considers.
Hildy Miller is Associate Professor of English and Director of Writing at Portland State University. She is coauthor of The Guide to Professional Development for Graduate Students in English. Lillian Bridwell-Bowles is Professor of English and Director of Communication at Louislana State University, and author of Identity Matters: Rhetorics of Difference.