Histories of Feminist Rhetorics and Writing Practices

(A Project of the Coalition of Women Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition)




English 597F.001 (Schedule #329376)

Mondays, 6:30-9:30 pm

301 Willard


Professor Cheryl Glenn, teaching with

Professor Andrea Lunsford, lunsford.2@osu.edu, and

Professor Kathleen Welch, kwelch@ou.edu

Course listserve: femrhets@ou.edu



Professor Glenn: 142 South Burrowes Building; phone: (814) 863-0271; fax: (814) 863-7285;

E-mail: cjg6@psu.edu. Office Hours: before and after class on Mondays; 1-2ish/4-5ish on TR; and by appointment.



Course Description: This experimental course will be taught simultaneously by the current and former presidents of the Coalition of Women Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition: Professor Kathleen Welch at the University of Oklaho ma, Distinguished Professor Andrea Lunsford at The Ohio State University, and Professor Cheryl Glenn at The Pennsylvania State University.


As conceived in discussions held during meetings of the Coalition, the course has several key aims: to further a new paradigm of the scholar-teacher whose research and pedagogy merge; to enrich the profession(s) of English (Rhetorical and Feminist) St udies with recent feminist theories of rhetoric and writing by providing a course model for other scholar-teachers to use to adapt; and to enact multiple technologies that increase student access to scholar-teachers at other universities. In addition, th is seminar aims to integrate women’s writing and writing practices into traditional receptions of historical rhetoric, not only by reading women’s work into this history but also by exploring how various constructions of gender, race, and technology have worked to make women and all people of color invisible within the tradition.



Course Organization: Our explorations will proceed chronologically in three major leaps: we will begin with ancient Greece, focusing on the figures of Sappho, Diotima, and Aspasia; then we will move to nineteenth-century African-American and A nglo-American women’s writing, focusing on Ida B. Wells, Sojourner Truth, and Margaret Fuller; we will conclude with contemporary women’s rhetorics/writings (focusing here on Donna Haraway and related work on woman/writer as cyborg), on the Biesecker-Camp bell debate (on attempts to write women into the history of rhetoric), and on careful analysis of the issues raised in the Phelps/Emig collection, Feminine Principles and Women’s Experience in American Composition and Rhetoric. These core readings will be supplemented by electronic and print selections in a coursepak that will make central the contributions of women rhetoricians and writers in these three Western historical periods. (This course does not aim, however, at field coverage.) We will work throughout to serve as appropriate and responsive audiences to voices long ignored or silenced.




Sappho: A New Translation;

Dialogues of Plato (Nehamas, trans., preferred; or Allen, trans.);

Plato’s Symposium;

Lunsford’s Reclaiming Rhetorica (L); (texts cont’d. on next page)

Fuller’s Woman in the Nineteenth Century;

Royster’s Southern Horrors and Other Stories;

Haraway’s Simians, Cyborgs, and Women;

Phelps and Emig’s Feminine Principles and Women’s Experience (PE);

coursepak (CP), including both required and optional readings.


Optional Texts:

Anson, Chris, et al. Teaching On-Line: Internet Research, Conversation, and Composition;

Hobbs, Catherine, ed. Nineteenth-Century Women Learn to Write;

Jamieson’s Eloquence in an Electronic Age;

Logan, Shirley, ed. With Pen and Voice: A Critical Anthology of Nineteenth-Century African-American Women;

Williamson, Margaret. Sappho’s Immortal Daughters;

optional readings in the coursepak.



Requirements: (1) attendance and class participation; (2) weekly on-line participation--a minimum of one post and one response each week; (3) dependable participation in your cross-campus discussion group (with a focus on antiquity, the 19th ce ntury, or the contemporary scene); (4) several short papers exploring the subject of the course (statements of understanding); (5) a midterm meta-analysis of the on-line discourse; (6) a final research project proposal (an opportunity for you to prepare a conference presentation, essay for submission, dissertation topic or subtopic, a grant project on an individual or collaborative scale). Final project due Nov. 24.


Required and Optional Electronic Material: all students must have e-mail addresses and be able to access the course listserv (femrhets@ou.edu). See requirement (2) above. Interaction on the course Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is strongly encoura ged, though optional. On the IRC, students divided up among the three campuses will be expected to find a time to "meet."


Strongly Suggested: Participation in the Ohio State University Symposium for Women in the History of Rhetoric, November 6-8.



Course Schedule


Readings and Assignments are listed on the days that they are DUE. Given that we will be interacting with faculty and students on the other campuses, we may find ourselves having/wanting to adjust the course schedule for better cross -campus collaboration.


Sept. 1: Labor Day, no class. Labor on your reading for this class.


Sept. 8: Women and Writing in Classical Rhetoric: Situating Ourselves; Situating Our Histories:

Overview of the course, create class list; discuss Sappho: A New Translation; "Sappho" from the Encyclopedia of Rhetoric and Composition (CP); Glenn, "Classical Rhetoric Conceptualized, or Vocal Men and Muted Women&quo t; (concentrating on Sappho, the Pythagorean women [CP]).


Sept. 15: Statement of understanding #1 assigned, due September 22.

Plato’s Symposium (concentrating on Diotima’s role); Plato’s Menexenus (concentrating on

Aspasia’s role). Glenn, concentrating on Aspasia and Diotima (CP); "Diotima" from the Encyclopedia of Rhetoric and Composition (CP).


(opt.)Welch, "Plato, Diotima, and Teaching Discourse" (CP); Halperin, "Why Is Diotima a Woman?" (CP).


Sept. 22: Women and Historicizing Rhetoric: What Do Histories Do?:

Statement #1 due today, on paper and on list-serve.

Group statements or individual papers #2 online by September 29, for response by students from other campuses.

Biesecker, "Coming to Terms with Recent Attempts to Write Women into the History of Rhetoric" (CP); Campbell, "Biesecker Cannot Speak for Her Either" (CP); Blair, "Contested Histories of Rhetoric: The Politics of Preservat ion, Progress, and Change" (CP); Sutton, "The Taming of Polos/Polis: Rhetoric as an Achievement Without Women" (CP).


Sept. 29: Classical Rhetoric Redux:

Statement #2 on line and on paper today, for response.

Glenn, "Mapping the Silences, or Remapping Rhetorical Territory" (CP); Lunsford, "On Reclaiming Rhetorica" (L).


Oct. 6: Corbett, "A Survey of Rhetoric" (CP);"Plato" from the Encyclopedia of Rhetoric and Composition

(CP); Welch, "Appropriating Competing Systems of Classical Greek Rhetoric: Considering Isocrates and Gorgias with Plato in the New Rhetoric of the Fourth Century B.C." (CP); Jarratt and Ong, "Aspasia: Rhetoric, Gender, and Colonial Ide ology" (L).


(opt.) Swearingen, "A Lover’s Discourse: Diotima, Logos, and Desire" (L).


Oct. 13: Settling into/Unsettling the Nineteenth Century: African-American and White-Women Rhetors/


Statement #3 assigned, due Oct. 27.

Logan, "Introduction" and timeline (CP); Logan, "Black Women on the Speaker’s Platform" (CP); Logan, biographical sketch of Sojourner Truth (CP); Truth, "Address Delivered to the Woman’s Rights Convention" (CP, two ver sions); Truth, "Speech Delivered to the First Annual Meeting of the American Equal Rights Association" (CP).


(opt.) Lipscomb, "Sojourner Truth: A Practical Public Discourse" (L)


Oct. 20: Fuller, Woman in the Nineteenth Century; Kolodny, "Inventing a Feminist Discourse: Rhetoric and

Resistance in Margaret Fuller’s Woman in the Nineteenth Century" (L).

opt. Hobbs, "Cultures and Practices of U.S. Women's Literacy" (CP);


Oct. 27: Statement #3 due, on line and on paper.

Royster, Southern Horrors; Royster, "To Call a Thing by Its True Name: The Rhetoric of

Ida B. Wells" (L); Logan, "‘Out of Their Own Mouths’: Ida Wells and the Presence of Lynching" (CP).


(opt.) Logan, "Ida B. Wells," biographical sketch and "Lynch Law in All Its Phases" (CP); Kates, "The Embodied Rhetoric of Hallie Quinn Brown" (CP); Gere, "(Re)Calibrating Culture" (CP); Gere and Robbins, "G endered Literacy in Black and White" (CP); Laqueur, "Discovery of the Sexes" (CP).



Nov. 3: Where Are We Now?

Meta-analysis of on-line discourse, due November 17.

Travel to OSU this week for symposium.

Welch, "Classical Rhetoric and Contemporary Rhetoric and Composition Studies: Electrifying Classical Rhetoric" (CP).


(opt.) Bauman, "Networked Hypertext" (CP); Jamieson: Eloquence in an Electronic Age.


Nov. 10: Contemporary Women’s Rhetorics/Writings: The Electronic Present:

Ede, Glenn, Lunsford, "Border Crossings: Intersections of Rhetoric and Feminism" (CP); Spender, "Women, Power and Cyberspace" (CP); Borsook, "Memoirs of a Token: An Aging Berkeley Feminist Examines Wired" (CP) .


(opt.) Ullman, "Come In, CQ: The Body on the Wire" (CP); Wambeam, "Spiderwoman Summit" (CP) Krochmal, "Fighting the Copyright Wars With a ‘Genius Grant’ in Hand" (CP); Turkel, "Who Am We?" (CP); Benedek, "S teal This Program" (CP); Carter, bibliography (CP).


Nov. 17: Catching Our Breath.

Meta-analysis of on-line exchanges due, on-line and on paper.

First half of Haraway, Simians, Cyborgs, and Women.


Nov. 24: First submission of final projects.

The rest of Haraway, Simians, Cyborgs, and Women.


(opt.) Penley and Ross, "Cyborgs at Large: Interview with Donna Haraway" (CP).


Dec. 1: Where Do We Want to Go--Pedagogically?

Emig and Phelps, "Introduction: Context and Commitment"(PE); "Editors’ Reflections: Vision and Interpretation" (PE); Jonsberg, Salgado and the Women of the Next Step, "Composing the Multiple Self: Teen Mothers Rewrite Th eir Roles" (PE); Phelps, "Becoming a Warrior: Lessons of the Feminist Workplace" (PE).


(opt.) Hays, "Intellectual Parenting and a Developmental Feminist Pedagogy of Writing" (PE); Jessup/Lardner, "Teaching Other People’s Children" (PE).


Dec. 8: Royster, "In Search of Ways In" (PE); Moss, "Intersections of Race and Class in the Academy" (CP);

Ladson-Billings, "For colored girls who have considered suicide when the academy’s not enough" (CP).


(opt.) Lauer, "Issues and Discursive Practices" (PE).


Week of Dec. 15: Final Projects Due.