Telling Political Lives

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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 chapter 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.

This 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 that they provide in their writings; the ways in which their 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 their 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.

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Editorial Reviews

Karlyn Kohrs Campbell
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.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Brenda DeVore Marshall is professor of theatre and communication arts at Linfield College in Oregon. Molly A. Mayhead is professor of speech communication at Western Oregon University.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Darlene Hooley Hooley, Darlene

1 Women's Autobiography as Political Discourse Brenda DeVore Marshall Marshall, Brenda DeVore Molly A. Mayhead Mayhead, Molly A. 7

2 Getting from There to Here: Political Rhetoric and African American Orality in Barbara Jordan: A Self-Portrait Brenda DeVore Marshall Marshall, Brenda DeVore 15

3 From Housework to House Work: The Political Autobiographies of Patricia Schroeder Molly A. Mayhead Mayhead, Molly A. Brenda DeVore Marshall Marshall, Brenda DeVore 55

4 The "Feisty" Feminist from Queens: A Feminist Rhetorical Analysis of the Autobiographies of Geraldine Ferraro Catherine A. Dobris Dobris, Catherine A. 73

5 Just Like "Azaleas in the Spring": Elizabeth Dole as a Daughter of the South Nichola D. Gutgold Gutgold, Nichola D. 95

6 All Our Relations: Wilma Mankiller's Rhetoric of Feminist Ecology and Indian Sovereignty Emily Plec Plec, Emily 109

7 The Personal Is Political: Negotiating Publicity and Privacy in Hillary Rodham Clinton's Living History Karrin Vasby Anderson Anderson, Karrin Vasby 131

8 Madeleine Albright and the Rhetoric of Madame Secretary C. Brant Short Short, C. Brant 147

9 Finding the Sensible Center: Christine Todd Whitman's It's My Party Too as Activist Autobiography Kristina Horn Sheeler Sheeler, Kristina Horn 167

Conclusion 185

Bibliography 187

Index 203

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