The Council of Women World Leaders, Iron Ladies, and Daughters of Destiny: a Transnational Study of Women's Rhetorical Performances of Power
AuthorRichards, Rebecca Sue
AdvisorLicona, Adela C.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation project examines the rhetorical performances of women who hold or have held the highest office of a nation-state. Currently, only 20 women are in such positions of political national leadership. This project asks how these women rhetorically perform--discursively, visually, and through embodied performance--their positions of power and how they are read, time again, against and with other women who have held similar positions in different geopolitical locations. Specifically, I ask how these rhetorical performances open up and/or close down the potential to confront gendered expectations of leadership. I argue that a "woman world leader" is not just a head of state, but also a symbolic heterodoxy that interrupts and reaffirms the doxa of the nation-state as an eternal structure. I analyze three rhetorical situations--autobiographies, the Council of Women World Leaders, and the nickname of "Iron Lady,"--in order to conclude that woman world leaders, as a discourse, can limit the potential for ethical rhetorical action of embodied women as world leaders. I link the function of the discourse of women world leaders to that of the "US presidency," as established by Campbell and Jamieson, in that it creates a transnational tradition of women as leaders. By researching women as world leaders, a subject of curiosity following the 2008 US Presidential campaigns, this project contributes to popular and academic discussions of power, identity, and transnational political participation at the foundation of which are writing, rhetoric, and education.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Rhetoric, Composition & the Teaching of English