This book investigates the autobiographical writings of Barbara Jordan, Patricia Schroeder, Geraldine Ferraro, Elizabeth Dole, Wilma Mankiller, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Madeleine Albright, and Christine Todd Whitman. These eight women represent the diversity that permeates the cultural backgrounds, life adventures, and ideologies women bring to the political table. From differences in race, class, and geographic location, to variations in personal and family experiences, religious beliefs, and political ideology, these women illustrate many of the divergent standpoints from which women craft their lives in the United States. Each essay focuses on the autobiographical text as political discourse and therefore, as an appropriate site for the rhetorical construction of a personal and civic self situated within local and national political communities. The collection examines issues such as the intersection between the "politicization of the private and the personalization of the public" evident in the women's narratives; the description of U.S. politics the women provide in their writings; the ways in which the women's personal stories craft arguments about their political ideologies; the strategies these women leaders employ in navigating the gendered double-binds of politics; and, the manner in which the women's discourse serves to encourage, instruct, and empower future women leaders. The analyses embody and explicate the political and rhetorical strategies these leaders employ in their efforts to act on their convictions, highlight the need for and reality of women's involvement in all levels of politics, and serve as an impetus and inspiration for scholars and activists alike.
Do high powered political women write about their lives differently? Of course, but as this book shows, the common threads are remarkable. Each life story challenges artificial distinctions between the personal and the public. Each autobiography illustrates the ways in which a woman’s standpoint—her distinctive angle of vision as female, ethnic—influences the ways in which she understands her life and the political world. These women are role models, and their life stories rehearse the struggles and triumphs of ambitious and talented women.
Chapter 1 Table of Contents Chapter 2 Foreword Chapter 3 Acknowledgments Chapter 4 Introduction Chapter 5 1. Women's Autobiography as Political Discourse Chapter 6 2. Getting from There to Here: Political Rhetoric and African American Orality inBarbara Jordan: A Self Portrait Chapter 7 3. From Housework to House Work: The Political Autobiographies of Patricia Schroeder Chapter 8 4. The "Feisty" Feminist from Queens: A Feminist Rhetorical Analysis of the Autobiographies of Geraldine Ferraro Chapter 9 5. Just Like "Azaleas in the Spring": Elizabeth Dole as a Daughter of the South Chapter 10 6. All Our Relations: Wilma Mankiller's Rhetoric of Feminist Ecology and Indian Sovereignty Chapter 11 7. The Personal is Political: Negotiating Publicity and Privacy in Hillary Rodham Clinton'sLiving History Chapter 12 8. Madeleine Albright and the Rhetoric ofMadame Secretary Chapter 13 9. Finding the Sensible Center: Christine Todd Whitman'sIt's My Party Too as Activist Autobiography Chapter 14 Conclusion Chapter 15 Bibliography Chapter 16 Index Chapter 17 About the Contributors