American Women Activists and Autobiography examines the feminist rhetorics that emerge in six very different activists’ autobiographies, as they simultaneously tell the stories of unconventional women’s lives and manifest the authors’ arguments for social and political change, as well as provide blueprints for creating tectonic shifts in American society.
Exploring self-narratives by six diverse women at the forefront of radical social change since 1900—Jane Addams, Emma Goldman, Dorothy Day, Angela Davis, Mary Crow Dog, and Betty Friedan—the author offers a breadth of perspectives to current dialogues on motherhood, essentialism, race, class, and feminism, and highlights the shifts in situated feminist rhetorics through the course of the last one hundred years.
This book is a timely instructional resource for all scholars and graduate students in rhetorical studies, composition, American literature, women's studies, feminist rhetorics, and social justice.
Table of Contents
Introduction: American Women Activists and Autobiography: Rhetorical Lives
Chapter 1: The Progressive Cassandra: Rhetoric in Jane Addam’s Twenty Years at Hull-House
Chapter 2: Anarchism and the Rhetoric of Womanhood: Emma Goldman’s Living My Life
Chapter 3: Dorothy Day and the Rhetoric of Paradox
Chapter 4: Angela Davis: An Autobiography and the Rhetoric of Race Consciousness
Chapter 5: Rhetorical Sovereignty and the Gendered Body in Mary Crow Dog’s Lakota Woman
Chapter 6: Betty Friedan’s Life So Far and New Activist Paradigms
Heather Ostman is the author or editor of multiple books, including Kate Chopin and Catholicism (2020). She teaches English at Westchester Community College in Valhalla, NY, where she also serves as Director of the Humanities Institute.