St. Olaf College | News

New book on women in leadership features essay by Richards

RichardsBecca300x250Would electing a woman as president change the world?

That’s the question St. Olaf College Assistant Professor of English Rebecca Richards aims to answer through her contribution to the newly released book Political Women: Language and Leadership, edited by Michele Lockhart and Kathleen Mollick.

The collection aims to examine the ways in which women have used political rhetoric and political discourse to provide leadership at a national level. Richards’ article, “Averting National Crisis: Women as Heads of State and Rhetorical Action,” traces the history of the contemporary circulation of the idea of needing to be “ready” in relation to electing a woman as head of state.

“The underlying assumption of such discourse is that something is about to change or shift with the election of a woman,” says Richards. “I argue that this ‘something’ is the doxa — the unstated belief in the eternal, inevitable, and patriarchal nature — of the nation-state. The election of a woman into executive national leadership puts this doxa into crisis.”

Richards sees this essay as a complement to her forthcoming book, tentatively titled From Daughters of Destiny and to Iron Ladies: Transnational Feminist Rhetorics and Gendered Leadership in Global Politics.

“I am really honored to be published with other contributors who are significant scholars in my fields of rhetoric and composition,” she says.

Her academic areas of focus include transnational and feminist rhetorics, professional writing, political rhetoric, multimodal writing, cyberliteracies, writing program administration and assessment, gender studies, and critical pedagogies.