Unorganized Women

Repetitive Rhetorical Labor and Low-Wage Workers, 1834-1937

Unorganized Women makes highly original contributions to scholarly conversations in the field. Historians and theorists of rhetoric—even those interested in women’s rhetorics and working-class rhetorics—have rarely turned their attention to the rhetorical labors of low-wage women, and I know of no other scholarship in rhetoric that expressly seeks to synthesize or juxtapose the rhetorical practices of varied groups of nonunion laborers.
Bill DeGenaro, University of Michigan–Dearborn

Across a range of industrial, domestic, and agricultural sites, Greer shows how repetitive discursive performances served as rhetorical tools as women workers sought to rescript power relations in their workplaces and to resist narratives about their laboring lives. The case studies reveal noteworthy patterns in how these women’s words helped to construct the complex web of class relations in which they were enmeshed. Rather than a teleological narrative of economic empowerment over the course of a century, Unorganized Women speaks to the enduring obstacles low- and no-wage women face, their creativity and resilience in the face of adversity, and the challenges that impede the creation of meaningful coalitions. By focusing on repetitive rhetorical labor, this book affords a point of entry for analyzing the discursive productions of a range of women workers and for constructing a richer history of women’s rhetoric in the United States.

232 Pages, 6 x 8 in.

February, 2023

isbn : 9780822947554

about the author

Jane Greer

Jane Greer is a Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Missouri–Kansas City. She is the editor of Girls and Literacy in America: Historical Perspectives to the Present, and coeditor of Pedagogies of Public Memory: Teaching Writing at Museums, Archives, and Memorials and The Naylor Report on Undergraduate Research in Writing Studies.

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Jane Greer