Abstract: In this essay, we explore the intersections of rhetoric and feminism and the resulting transformations to both disciplines. Rhetoric offers feminism a vibrant process of inquiring, organizing, and thinking, as well as a theorized space to talk about effective communication; feminism offers rhetoric a reason to bridge differences, to include, and to empower, as well as a politicized space to discuss rhetorical values. The fraditional rhetorical canons, with their enthymematic familiarity, mark the sections of this essay, for they emphasize the mutually heuristic nature of the border crossings between these two disdplines. Although the linearity of print demands that we treat the canons consecutively, they, nevertheless, have a tendency to overlap and interact. Our discussions of arrangement, style, and delivery, for instance, both assume and depend upon a rethinking of invention and memory—a rethinking that recognizes the role that both these canons play in current efforts to reconceptualize and reenact what it means to know, speak, and write. As our essay argues, such attention to what we speak about, and how and why we speak, urges ail of us not only to continued exploration and interrogation but also to a renewed responsibility for our professional and personal discursive acts.
- Copyright 1995, The International Society for the History of Rhetoric