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Call for Papers: Women Rhetors Between the Wars

Deadline for Papers February 15, 2008

Deadline Reminder: Call for Papers:

Women Rhetors Between the Wars

Ann George of Texas Christian University, co-author of Burke in the 1930s; Elizabeth Weiser of Ohio State University, author of the forthcoming Burke, Words, War; and Janet Zepernick of York College of Pennsylvania, author of the manuscript Intractable Disorders: Debating Health Care in America, invite historical and feminist scholars in rhetoric, composition, literacy, and communication studies to contribute to the collection Women Rhetors Between the Wars.

The 1920s and 1930s represent a tremendous breakthrough for women into American public life. The first woman cabinet secretary, governor, campaign manager, and members of the House and Senate were all in office during this time, and women held important roles in labor leadership and in private industry. There were groundbreaking women artists, educators, scientists, and intellectuals, women leaders in labor, industry, and political organizing, in human and civil rights, church and legal institutions. Yet that promising beginning did not yield the flood of women into public and professional life that might have been expected. Indeed, the opening of the 21st century presents an almost surreal reflection of women's activity in the 1930's, as we finally regain the ground broken 70-80 years before.

This collection seeks to understand why. In particular, it will address the questions:

    • Who were the women rhetors of the period between women's suffrage and the start of World War II?
    • How and where did they employ rhetoric in their public stances, and how did their knowledge and practice intersect with that of rhetors and rhetorical practices of their day?
    • Were these women exceptional--impossible to anticipate or follow? Were they products of an era that could not be duplicated until (perhaps) now? Or was there some other combination of factors involved in the rise and fall of women in public life between the wars?
We seek previously unpublished manuscripts that aim to provide a better understanding of an overlooked era in women's public life and also examine how the women of the time were able to accomplish public gains that we only now are replicating. We hope this collection will enrich our communal scholarship on the history of women in public life.

Please submit a CV, an abstract of no more than 500 words (MS Word attachments), and complete contact information to Ann George at by February 15, 2008 (completed articles will be due August 15). The editors will respond to abstracts by April 15. Questions are welcome to any of the editors:

Ann George,
Associate Professor
Department of English
Texas Christian University

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