Cover image for Practicing Citizenship: Women’s Rhetoric at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair By Kristy Maddux

Practicing Citizenship

Women’s Rhetoric at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair

Kristy Maddux

BUY

$99.95 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-08350-6

256 pages
6" × 9"
2019

Rhetoric and Democratic Deliberation

Practicing Citizenship

Women’s Rhetoric at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair

Kristy Maddux

“An outstanding book. Through her thoroughly researched, engagingly written, and accessible scholarship, Kristy Maddux shows how the women who participated in the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago projected onto the world stage the tensions and aspirations of their historical moment. She draws our attention to rhetorical events of undeniable importance that continue to resonate for us, here, today.”

 

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By 1893, the Supreme Court had officially declared women to be citizens, but most did not have the legal right to vote. In Practicing Citizenship, Kristy Maddux provides a glimpse at an unprecedented alternative act of citizenship by women of the time: their deliberative participation in the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893.

Hailing from the United States and abroad, the more than eight hundred women speakers at the World’s Fair included professionals, philanthropists, socialites, and reformers addressing issues such as suffrage, abolition, temperance, prison reform, and education. Maddux examines the planning of the event, the full program of women speakers, and dozens of speeches given in the fair’s daily congresses. In particular, she analyzes the ways in which these women shaped the discourse at the fair and modeled to the world practices of democratic citizenship, including deliberative democracy, racial uplift, organizing, and economic participation. In doing so, Maddux shows how these pioneering women claimed sociopolitical ground despite remaining disenfranchised.

This carefully researched study makes significant contributions to the studies of rhetoric, American women’s history, political history, and the history of the World’s Fair itself. Most importantly, it sheds new light on women’s activism in the late nineteenth century; even amidst the suffrage movement, women innovated practices of citizenship beyond the ballot box.

“An outstanding book. Through her thoroughly researched, engagingly written, and accessible scholarship, Kristy Maddux shows how the women who participated in the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago projected onto the world stage the tensions and aspirations of their historical moment. She draws our attention to rhetorical events of undeniable importance that continue to resonate for us, here, today.”
“In this remarkable study of women's contributions to the World's Columbian Exposition, Kristy Maddux complicates and nuances scholarship on citizenship. Maddux invites readers to consider historical practices in new ways, offering a fuller understanding of their past significance and future potential. Deftly weaving together historical detail and analytic insight, Maddux illuminates the ‘multivocality’ of citizenship.”
“This book expands our understanding of the multiple ways in which citizenship was expressed and enacted at a defining moment in U.S. history. Illuminating the intersections between gender, race, nationality, and economic power, Maddux offers a remarkable synthesis of dozens of speeches to show how women in the late nineteenth century practiced citizenship without having access to the ballot box.”

Kristy Maddux is Associate Professor of Communication at the University of Maryland. She is the author of the award-winning book The Faithful Citizen: Popular Christian Media and Gendered Civic Identities.