In Out of the Dead House: Nineteenth Century Women Physicians and the Writing of Medicine, Susan Wells explores the theses, journals, and written recoIn Out of the Dead House: Nineteenth Century Women Physicians and the Writing of Medicine, Susan Wells explores the theses, journals, and written records of women physicians in the 19th Century. She looks at their rhetorical practices as they operate in a masculine - and almost exclusively male - profession. She writes that:
“Women physicians developed distinctive strategies for speaking and writing in a hostile profession. Many wrote as if they were men of the received order: they insisted on the regularity of their medical views and the rigor of their education. These women sometimes argued for a wider sphere for women or claimed that their gender gave them a special understanding of some neglected (and usually undervalued) aspect of medicine, such as hygiene, public health, or prevention. Theirs was a strategy of masquerade: the woman physician wrote as male but did not present herself as ‘a man.’ Instead, she was ‘a doctor as good as any man’; her disguise is foregrounded as a performance, rendered memorable by the special skill she brought to it” (Wells 5).
Wells discusses much of their writing as what she calls "cross-dressed rhetoric" and as "gendered performance." She writes about the ways these women position their discourse so that they can develop a sense of ethos within both the medical community (which regularly scorned their presence and society as a whole.
One thing that fixed my attention throughout the text was the problem of women patients seeing male doctors and the lack of comprehensive medical attention they received as a result of the 'need' to maintain modesty. I'm fascinated by the manuals for women that were published during this period. Before I returned to school, I had a job that allowed me to collect antiquarian books. These types of manuals and guides were among my favorites. The medical/health advice, as well as the rules for proper comportment, come out in Wells' descriptions of the poor health care women received due to a generally poor understanding of women's bodies and health concerns, as well as this reluctance (and often refusal) to disrobe and submit to examinations performed by male doctors. These women doctors were often able to use these situations to argue for the need for female doctors, to establish their importance and status....more
I'm not comfortable with the way Crowley uses the terms "fundamentalists" and "apocalyptics" - while she briefOne-word reaction: Conflicted
I'm not comfortable with the way Crowley uses the terms "fundamentalists" and "apocalyptics" - while she briefly discusses the differences early in the book, she later uses them seemingly interchangeably.
However, I love chapter two "Speaking of Rhetoric" and chapter three "Belief and Passionate Commitment." As you might expect, Crowley's discussion of rhetoric as grounded in invention appeals to this mls bearer who understands research and inquiry as rhetorical processes connected to the art of invention. She argues that the inability of discursants to find stasis has left us with the inability to find the means to discuss arguments. Specifically, Crowley focuses on the theoretical differences in the approach of modes of liberal argumentation and Christian fundamentalist argumentation. Liberal argumentation is based on reason and rationality, and does not provide the tools for dealing with emotion or faith/values. Modes of argumentation that rely on faith/values operate in ways that are contrary to pure rationality. This conflict leaves debaters at a standstill. An example of her description of the differences between these two approaches can be seen in the following quotations:
"Hegemonic discourses construct and inform community experience to such an extent that their assumptions seem natural, 'just the way things are.' The very inarticulateness of hegemonic belief is a source of power" (12).
"Liberal rhetorical theory assumes that all members of a democratic polity will be willing to examine and weigh contending positions in a rational fashion, aiming for compromise where this is possible and settling for tolerance where it is not. Clearly, apocalypticism is a direct challenge to this belief" (21).
I'm still digesting her discussion of argumentation between these groups.
More things that bother me:
I wish that when Crowley discussed the texts of apocalyptics that she had focused more on those texts than the ways others analyzed those texts. What can I say, I'm a primary source sort of gal.
Also, Crowley focused on those who are the loudest - LaHaye, Focus on the Family folks, Christian Coalition, Falwell, etc. I would love to hear more about those who aren't on tv and talk radio. Granted, that would be a whole 'nother project, but I really would like to hear more about them....more