Rethinking Pedagogy in Public Speaking and American Public Address: A Feminist Alternative

Thomas, Douglas
September 1991
Women's Studies in Communication;Fall91, Vol. 14 Issue 2, p42
Academic Journal
This article elaborates on a framework for future study of speaking and criticism. It contends that the problems of patriarchal domination within the study of rhetoric have two roots. The first is a failure of students to rhetoric to study speeches that have meaning outside of the strictly male-centered rhetorical canon. Second, the problem itself may stem from a more fundamental, pedagogical basis. We subtly reinforce both the canon that excludes previously marginalized discourse, and the societal basis which perpetuates the illusion that rhetoric is essentially masculine practice. What is proposed is a new structure for the study of public address that alters both the content and form of the study of rhetoric in such a way as to help re-create the rhetorical canon, re-define criteria for rhetorical masterpieces, and empower students of public address to heighten their awareness of the political dimensions of both their ability to speak and criticize public discourse


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