Author ORCID Identifier
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Ashley J. Holmes
Lynee Lewis Gaillet
Adopting the methodology of feminist rhetorical microhistory, this work recovers an oral history collection remembering the women’s movement in Georgia, and specifically efforts to build a coalition of activists to mount pressure on state legislators to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. Feminist rhetorical microhistory draws on and advances scholarship in three disciplines, overlapping in productive ways that renegotiate the scholar-subject relationship. FRM is comprised from three areas, which enable its potential for interruption and renegotiation: feminist rhetorical theory (drawing on invitational rhetoric, strategic contemplation, rhetorical listening, and rhetorical empathy); microhistory; and critical and feminist archival methods (which acknowledges the mediated nature of archivists’ role in the non-neutral arrangement of records). In three chapters, I apply FRM to understand 1) how events of the Equal Rights Amendment battle and other women’s and family rights issues played out in Georgia, 2) how women in the Georgia Women’s Movement Project archival collection enacted remembrance via oral history when viewing themselves as actors in history, and 3) how several key founders interpreted their larger role in “feminist work” during and after the peak of second wave women’s movement activity. In order that we might understand lived experience against the backdrop of significant (or not) events, microhistory, feminist rhetorical theory, and critical and feminist archival studies provide symbiotic overlap. I suggest that the agency afforded to individuals across these three disparate sets of disciplinary frameworks is a renegotiation between the rhetor and the audience.
Additionally, I posit oral history as rhetorical act, and take the position that oral history is both form and method for enacting oneself in history. This co-narrated history operates as interruption, with an intentional view to the individual’s normal and exceptional lived experience, further advancing feminist rhetorical recovery scholarship. I discuss affordances and limitations of FRM methodology, especially its uses for others studying histories of and individuals involved in social movements as well as for future legal, feminist, and material acts. FRM enables us to uncover knowledge of movements past and present that has remained occluded in the tendency to narrate simpler, grander stories of success and failure in social movements.
McCrary, Jessica Edens, "Oral History, Activism, and Remembrance: The Rhetorical Agency of Georgia’s Women Activists in and Beyond the Equal Rights Amendment." Dissertation, Georgia State University, 2023.
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