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Summer 2005, pages 101 - 124

Contradicting and Complicating Feminization of Rhetoric Narratives: Mary Yost and Argument from a Sociological Perspective

ABSTRACT: This article adds to the growing body of feminist scholarship critiquing Robert J. Connors' assertion that the entrance of women into higher education in the nineteenth century contributed to the decline of oratory and debate. It contradicts and complicates Connors' claim by highlighting the efforts of Mary Yost, who taught English at Vassar College during the first two decades of the twentieth century. Yost promoted debate both in the classroom and in extracurricular activities, and she crafted a feminist theory of argument quite distinct from the traditional type of argument that Connors argues was displaced after women entered higher education.

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