Pamela VanHaitsma, Sherwin Early Career Professor in the Rock Ethics Institute and assistant professor of communication arts and sciences, will present the following talk as part of the Center for Democratic Deliberation's lecture series. VanHaitsma's research is supported by a McCourtney Institute for Democracy research grant.
The rhetorical significance of women’s romantic friendships has been underappreciated. Even in feminist and queer histories of rhetoric, these relationships are ignored or oversimplified and dismissed as normative instances of sexual repression and social constraint. She recovers the civic importance of the relationships in her second book project, tentatively titled The Erotic as Rhetorical Power: Romantic Friendships between Women Teachers, 1848–1922. Through archival research in over twenty brick-and-mortar and digital collections, this project investigates how the women’s intimate relationships enabled their public engagement as orators, writers, and teachers of rhetoric.