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Call for Papers - Women's Oratorical Education

Call for Papers 

Women's Oratorical Education 

David Gold and Catherine Hobbs are seeking contributors to an edited collection, Reconsidering Women's Oratorical Education. 

Historians of rhetoric have long worked to recover women's written rhetoric, especially in the late nineteenth through the twentieth centuries. As this work has evolved beyond what Gesa E. Kirsch and Jacqueline Jones Royster have called "rescue, recovery, and (re)inscription" to more robustly examining the full range of women's rhetorical practices within their contemporary context, scholars have begun to take an increasing interest in women's speaking practices, from the parlor to the platform to the varied types of particular institutions where women learned elocution and oratorical skills in preparation for professional and public life. Such work has encouraged scholars to revisit and complicate earlier claims made about the decline of oratorical culture, the limits of gendered oratorical spaces, and the role of elocutionary training, and has recently inspired a new burst of scholarship focusing on women's oratorical training as it develops from forms of eighteenth-century rhetoric into institutional settings at the end of the nineteenth century and diverges into several distinct streams of theory and practice in the twentieth.                                       

Women's Oratorical Education will collect key examples of this new scholarship, from writers both established and emerging. We are interested in rhetors, settings, genres, and movements, historical and contemporary. Working contributions so far include examinations of: early nineteenth-century educator Almira Phelps' promotion of oratorical culture for girls; women's oratorical preparation in normal-school literary societies in the early 1870s; a reconsideration of Delsartean education for women; women's participation in the elocution, expression, and oratory movement in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; the influence of colleges of oratory on public women's colleges in the early twentieth century; and Barbara Jordan's community-embodied rhetorical education in the mid twentieth-century. Through this volume we seek to fill an important gap in the history of rhetoric, suggest new paths for the way such histories may be written and told, and inspire future scholarship. 

Interested scholars should submit queries or proposals (consisting of a 500-word abstract, 100-word bio, and two-page vita) to David Gold ( and Catherine Hobbs (

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