Date of Award

2-5-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Claude Hurlbert, D.A.

Second Advisor

Gian Pagnucci, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Nancy Welch, Ph.D.

Abstract

This study looks at how three feminist non-profits use writing as a vehicle to support women and strengthen their voices. It re-examines the metaphor of "voice" in writing instruction through a lens for feminist advocacy and offers suggestions for writing instruction that are grounded in feminist theory and advocacy. The project points to ways for instructors to give greater consideration to their female students' experiences and material lives amidst writing instruction. The narrative inquiry method provides stories from advocacy workers around four themes: women's issues, the metaphor of voice, ideas about writing, and feminist principles. Via interviews from staff who daily collaborate with women and support thousands of women annually, this study identifies a list of women's issues from the participants' contexts and relates stories of how feminists make use of many means of voicing in varied discourse communities and contexts. The study brings some current women's issues into the consciousness of writing instructors, feminist rhetoricians, and women's advocates and explores ways writing is used for women's advocacy. It also notes the choice of feminist advocacy groups to do feminism without taking the risk to overtly identify themselves as "feminist." The results point to the continued need for women's movements, as noted by many feminist rhetoric scholars. It relates data about voice and voicing to a review of literature on voice from rhetoric and composition, while naming the ways in which the participants conceive of voice, namely as action-oriented self-direction. The findings also reveal the merits of hospitality in composition pedagogy as it is embodied at each of the advocacy sites.

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