Be-coming subjects: reclaiming a politics of location as radical political rhetoric

Thumbnail Image
Fox, Catherine
Major Professor
Carl Herndl
Diane Price-Herndl
Committee Member
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Organizational Unit

The Department of English seeks to provide all university students with the skills of effective communication and critical thinking, as well as imparting knowledge of literature, creative writing, linguistics, speech and technical communication to students within and outside of the department.

The Department of English and Speech was formed in 1939 from the merger of the Department of English and the Department of Public Speaking. In 1971 its name changed to the Department of English.

Dates of Existence

Historical Names

  • Department of English and Speech (1939-1971)

Related Units

Journal Issue
Is Version Of

In this dissertation I theorize and analyze the rhetorical deployment of a "politics of location" within the context of poststructural theories of discourse, subjectivity, and agency. In her book, Blood Bread and Poetry, Adrienne Rich coins the phrase "a politics of location," which marks an effort to move away from a hegemonic Western feminism that universalizes all women's experiences and constructs a normative (and hence limiting and exclusionary) subject of feminism. Rich forwards a politics of location as a radical materialist political stance that grounds feminist theory in accountability for the situatedness of knowledge production. I extend Rich's phrase to theorize how radical, lesbian feminists have used a politics of location as a signifying practice to construct alternative subjectivities and assert discursive agency.;More specifically, in this project I historicize and contextualize a politics of location as it developed within lesbian feminist interchanges during the 1980s and early 90s. This is a significant historical juncture for two reasons. First, the universal concept of "woman" came under radical critique by third-space feminists. Second, feminist publishing houses began to proliferate as a counter-public context for the dissemination of new voices and knowledges, thus allowing for the invention of new discursive strategies within feminist conversations. After historicizing a politics of location, I trace its development as a rhetorical strategy deployed specifically within interchanges between radical, lesbian feminists. Additionally, I use a Foucauldian theory of discursive formations to show how this rhetorical strategy interrupts the normative subject of the rhetorical tradition. Finally, I show how a politics of location contributes to the growing field of research on feminist rhetorical theory.

Thu Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2004