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The Art of Citizenship: Suffrage Literature as Social Pedagogy

Rehm, Maggie Amelia (2011) The Art of Citizenship: Suffrage Literature as Social Pedagogy. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The Art of Citizenship examines the largely forgotten literary tradition that emerged as part of the women's suffrage movement in the United States, exploring through these texts and their history the relationship between literature, pedagogy, and social change. It argues that suffrage literature and its performances constituted what I have labeled "social pedagogy," or pedagogy as social action, a project that included both intentional and unintentional educational aspects. The study focuses on the genres of suffrage literature that could be performed at suffrage meetings and elsewhere (the plays, pageants, poems, and songs) because the claiming of public spaces that occurs in such performances reinforces the lessons about women's rights and roles to be found in the texts themselves, thus adding another dimension to their pedagogy. It also considers the larger rhetorical context within which this literature existed, examining the forms of criticism suffragists faced and the ways suffrage writers engaged with this criticism. In part, the study is an archival project, a continuation and extension of earlier feminist recovery work that reclaims women's literary texts and women's history. It significantly expands the currently known body of suffrage literature, much of which was written and performed by women, by examining many texts that have not at this time been reprinted or collected in anthologies. The study is also an exploration of the ways suffragists understood and theorized gender, performance, and pedagogy, often anticipating the ideas and theories of second and third wave feminists and proponents of critical pedagogy. It argues that in their efforts to gain enfranchisement for women, suffrage writers and their writing played a pedagogical as well as an aesthetic role, offering images of female enfranchisement as logical and natural, challenging notions of separate spheres, and generally inviting discourse about women's rights and roles. In doing so, they negotiated normative gender patterns in order to ensure that their words could find an audience, yet also invited American men and women to consider alternative possibilities for gender identity and expression.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Rehm, Maggie
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee CoChairKameen, Paulpkameen@pitt.eduPKAMEEN
Committee CoChairHarris Smith, Susanshs1@pitt.eduSHS1
Committee MemberZboray, Ronald Jzboray@pitt.eduZBORAY
Committee MemberBoone, Troyboone@pitt.eduBOONE
Date: 30 June 2011
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 1 April 2011
Approval Date: 30 June 2011
Submission Date: 22 April 2011
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > English
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: American women writers; anti-suffrage drama; political literature; suffrage poetry; suffrage theater; women's suffrage
Other ID:, etd-04222011-051606
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:41
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:42


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