My research is at the intersections of nineteenth-century American literature, and rhetorical, composition, and pedagogical theory. My interdisciplinary study of personhood has evolved into my dissertation, entitled, “‘Genre and Gender: A Rhetoric of Irony in Nineteenth-Century American Women’s Writing.” As a literary and rhetorical scholar, I use theories of genre as social action to understand why texts that were initial best sellers have since been marginalized or completely forgotten. I am interested to know what strategies a writer uses, why they use them, and what those strategies accomplish or fail to accomplish. I look at the undertheorized rhetorical use of agential irony as an especially feminist social reform tool. Women’s irony, I claim, requires a reciprocal response from readers who are invited to share in the author’s activism.
PAMLA 2021 Presentation of Conference Theme Illustration.