Gender Stories: Negotiating Identity in a Binary World
Sonja K. Foss, Mary E. Domenico, and Karen A. Foss

Long Grove, Illinois: Waveland Press, 2013
1-57766-791-3 or 978-1-57766-791-9

Essential for anyone who seeks to understand the contemporary gender landscape, Gender Stories defines gender as the socially constructed meanings that are assigned to bodies. The book helps readers navigate issues of gender by introducing them to the ubiquitous gender binary, the problems with much of the research on gender differences, and the variety of gender stories in popular culture.

At the heart of the book is a description of the process of becoming a gendered person through crafting and performing gender stories. Because each gender performance is unique, a virtually unlimited number of genders exists—not just two, as the gender binary would have us believe. The same multiplicity that characterizes the gender landscape characterizes the individual, who typically changes gender multiple times a day and across the lifespan.

In Gender Stories, personal gender performances are framed within a philosophy of choice. Readers are encouraged to become more conscious of the choices they have in constructing their gender identities and to allow others the same choice by respecting their gender performances. Readers will easily find a place for themselves in the book, regardless of their views on gender, because one perspective on gender is not presented as the right one. Gender Stories affirms and legitimizes diverse perspectives as providing more comprehensive knowledge about gender for everyone.

Gender Stories: An Introduction
1. Dramatic Fiction: The Social Construction of Reality
2. The Classics: The Gender Binary
3. Science Fiction: Gender Stories in Scientific Research
4. Best Sellers: Gender Stories in Popular Culture
5. Crafting: Developing Gender Stories
6. Performing: Enacting Gender Stories
7. Reworking: Managing Responses to Gender Performances
8. The Next Chapter: Constructing Gendered Worlds

This book may be ordered from Waveland Press:


Destination Dissertation Second Edition Destination Dissertation:
A Traveler’s Guide to a Done Dissertation, Second Edition

Sonja K. Foss and William Waters
Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2016
ISBN 978-1-4422-4613-3 (cloth) or 978-1-4422-4614-0 (pbk)


Your dissertation is not a hurdle to jump or a battle to fight; as this handbook makes clear, your dissertation is the first of many destinations on the path of your professional career. Destination Dissertation frames the process of successfully completing your dissertation as a stimulating and exciting trip–one that can be completed in fewer than nine months and by following twenty-nine specific steps. Sonja Foss and William Waters–your guides on this trip–explain concrete and efficient processes for completing the parts of the dissertation that tend to cause the most delays; conceptualizing a topic, developing a pre-proposal, writing a literature review, writing a proposal, collecting and analyzing data, and writing the last chapter. Crafted for use by students in all disciplines and for both quantitative and qualitative dissertations, the book incorporates a wealth of real-life examples from every step of the journey.

1 Preparing to Go: The Dissertation Journey
2 The Journey Before You: 29 Steps
3 Planning the Trip: The Conceptual Conversation
4 Developing Your Itinerary: The Pre-Proposal
5 Advice from Other Travelers: The Literature Review
6 Getting There: The Dissertation Proposal
7 Things to See and Do: Data Collection and Analysis
8 Making the Most of Your Travels: The Last Chapter Plus
9 Useful Phrases: Writing and Editing
10 Travelogue: The Dissertation Defense
11 Making the Best Use of Your Guide: Advisor Advising
12 Avoiding Delays and Annoyances: Enactment of the Scholar Role

This book may be ordered from Rowman & Littlefield:


Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 7.34.28 PM Rhetorical Criticism: Exploration and Practice, Fifth Edition
Sonja K. Foss
Long Grove, Illinois: Waveland Press, 2018
ISBN: 1-4786-3489-8 or 978-1-4786-3489-8

Over multiple editions, this transformative text has taught the lively art of rhetorical criticism to thousands of students at more than 300 colleges and universities. Insights from classroom use enrich each new edition.

With an unparalleled talent for distilling sophisticated rhetorical concepts and processes, Sonja Foss highlights ten methods of doing rhetorical criticism–the systematic investigation and explanation of symbolic acts and artifacts. Each chapter focuses on one method, its foundational theories, and the steps necessary to perform an analysis using that method. Foss provides instructions on how to write coherent, well-argued reports of analytical findings, which are then illustrated by sample essays.

A chapter on feminist criticism features the disruption of conventional ideologies and practices. Storytelling in the digital world is a timely addition to the chapter on narrative criticism. Student essays now include analyses of the same artifact using multiple methods. A deep understanding of rhetorical criticism equips readers to become engaged and active participants in shaping the nature of the worlds in which we live.


1. The Nature of Rhetorical Criticism
2. Doing Rhetorical Criticism
3. Neo-Aristotelian Criticism
4. Cluster Criticism
5. Fantasy-Theme Criticism
6. Feminist Criticism
7. Generic Criticism
8. Ideological Criticism
9. Metaphoric Criticism
10. Narrative Criticism
11. Pentadic Criticism

This book may be ordered from Waveland Press:


Contemporary Perspectives on Rhetoric (Fourth Edition; 30th anniversary edition)
Sonja K. Foss, Karen A. Foss, and Robert Trapp
Long Grove, Illinois: Waveland Press, 2014
ISBN 1-4786-1524-9 or 978-1-4786-1524-8

Thorough in scope and highly accessible, this volume introduces the reader to the thinkers who have exerted a profound influence on contemporary rhetorical theory. The brief biographical sketches locate the theorists in time and place, showing how life experiences influenced perspectives on rhetorical thought. The concise explanations of complex concepts are clear and provide readers with a solid foundation for reading the major works of these scholars. The critical commentary is carefully chosen to place the theories within a broader rhetorical context. Each chapter ends with a complete bibliography of works by the theorists. Previous editions have been praised as indispensable; this edition is equally essential.

1. An Introduction to Rhetoric
2. I. A. Richards
3. Ernesto Grassi
4. Chaïm Perelman and Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca
5. Stephen Toulmin
6. Richard Weaver
7. Kenneth Burke
8. Jürgen Habermas
9. bell hooks
10. Jean Baudrillard
11. Michel Foucault

This may be ordered from Waveland Press:


Readings in Contemporary Rhetoric
Karen A. Foss, Sonja K. Foss, and Robert Trapp, eds.
Long Grove, Illinois: Waveland Press, 2002
ISBN 1-57766-206-7

Twenty-five selections written by important rhetorical theorists (Jean Baudrillard, Kenneth Burke, Michel Foucault, Ernesto Grassi, Jürgen Habermas, bell hooks, Chaïm Perelman and Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca, I. A. Richards, Stephen Toulmin, and Richard Weaver) allow the reader to sample the multiple voices contributing to the creation of knowledge through rhetoric. Exposure to the theorists’ ideas in their own words provides a richer, more meaningful understanding. The extensive bibliography of works about the theorists included in the anthology is a valuable resource for further exploration of their works.

This book may be ordered from Waveland Press:


Inviting Transformation: Presentational Speaking for a Changing World, Fourth Edition
Sonja K. Foss and Karen A. Foss
Long Grove, Illinois: Waveland Press, 2012
ISBN 1478638192 or 978-1478638193

The fourth edition of Inviting Transformation continues to offer an innovative approach to presentational speaking at a very reasonable price. The authors introduce readers to invitational rhetoric, teaching speakers to clarify ideas and to work to achieve understanding for all participants in an interaction. A primary goal of presentational speaking is to create an environment in which growth and change can occur for both the audience and the speaker. The text highlights four external conditions affecting transformational environments: safety, openness, freedom, and value (honoring the intrinsic worth of all individuals).

To reflect respect for the diversity of the world, Sonja Foss and Karen Foss include options from many speaking traditions and practices to foster creativity. Discussions of all the processes of presenting selecting a speaking goal, organizing ideas, elaborating on ideas, and delivering the presentation emphasize inclusive speaking practices. Sample presentations provide clear and contemporary examples of the best invitational speaking practices.

The authors recognize readers as competent communicators and encourage them to think about and systematize their approaches to presentational speaking. The exceptionally accessible writing style is an aid to readers in thinking through strategies for meeting their interactional goals. Readers learn to design and deliver effective presentations for any speaking situation.

Not-for-sale instructor resource material available to college and university faculty only; contact publisher directly.


  1. Inviting Transformation
  2. Selecting Interactional Goals
  3. Creating Environment
  4. Focusing
  5. Framing
  6. Elaborating
  7. Beginning and Ending
  8. Connecting Ideas
  9. Delivering
  10. Assessing Choices

Sample Presentations

This book may be ordered from Waveland Press:


Feminist Rhetorical Theories
Sonja K. Foss, Karen A. Foss, and Cindy L. Griffin
Long Grove, Illinois: Waveland Press, 1999
ISBN 1-57766-496-5, ISBN 978-1-57766-496-3

Feminist Rhetorical Theories offers feminist rhetorical theories developed from the works of nine feminist theorists who offer important insights into rhetoric and communication–Cheris Kramarae, bell hooks, Gloria Anzaldúa, Mary Daly, Starhawk, Paula Gunn Allen, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Sally Miller Gearhart, and Sonia Johnson. Each of the theories is explicated in terms of the nature of the world or the realm for rhetoric explicated by the theorist, the theorist’s definition of feminism, the nature of the rhetor or the kind of agent the theorist sees as acting in the world, and the rhetorical options envisioned by the theorist as available to rhetors. The resulting theories of rhetoric, which are substantially different from traditional rhetorical theories, re-vision rhetoric and encourage scholars to rethink many traditional rhetorical constructs.

This book may be ordered from Waveland Press:


Readings in Feminist Rhetorical Theory,
Sonja K. Foss, Karen A. Foss, and Cindy L. Griffin
Long Grove, Illinois: Waveland Press, 2004

ISBN 1-57766-497-3, ISBN 978-1-57766-497-0

With a broad conceptualization of rhetorical scholarship and theory in mind, editors Karen A. Foss, Sonja K. Foss, and Cindy L. Griffin have compiled essays and readings by feminist theorists whose work has relevance for rhetorical theory. This volume introduces readers to multiple feminist voices and perspectives and contextualizes theory as a way of framing experiences and events. The editors provide readers an inclusive, accessible collection of readings by key contemporary feminist theorists as well as spirited, approachable introductions to their work and their lives.

Readings in Feminist Rhetorical Theory features and pays homage to the work of nine influential theorists: Cheris Kramarae, bell hooks, Gloria Anzaldúa, Mary Daly, Starhawk, Paula Gunn Allen, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Sally Miller Gearhart, and Sonia Johnson. As the editors explain in their Introduction, these feminist theorists are featured because they have sufficiently large bodies of work that constitute coherent theories about communication or rhetoric and contribute to the re-conceptualization and transformation of rhetorical constructs and theories.

The editors introduce each theorist historically and conceptually through a brief biography and a discussion of the key ideas in the pieces selected. The works of each theorist

  • represent the general content and form of the theorist’s body of work;
  • span the time period over which the theorist has been writing, tracing the evolution of her ideas;
  • directly address concerns relevant to rhetorical theory or symbol use;
  • vary in terms of types of work (essays, poems, short stories) to capture the range of each theorist’s genre.

Readings in Feminist Rhetorical Theory is ideal for students in upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses in Communication Studies, Women’s Studies, and English and is an excellent companion volume to Feminist Rhetorical Theory.

This book may be ordered from Waveland Press:


Women Speak: The Eloquence of Women’s Lives
Karen A. Foss and Sonja K. Foss
Long Grove, Illinois: Waveland Press, 1991
ISBN 0-88133-547-0

Women Speak is a collection of thirty examples of women’s rhetoric in a variety of contexts. It makes available, in one volume, samples of the range of women’s talk–from the informal and private to the formal and public. Using the framework for analysis provided by the authors as a starting point, students are encouraged to examine the texts as an impetus to exploring women’s communication in their own lives.

Part 1. A new Context for the Study of Women as Communicators: Re-Visioning Public Address
Part 2. Framework for Analysis
Part 3. The Eloquence of Women’s Lives
1. Architecture
2. Baking
3. Children’s Parties
4. Comedy
5. Costume Design
6. Dance
7. Dress
8. Family Stories
9. Filmmaking
10. Gardening
11. Graffiti
12. Herbology
13. Holiday Greetings
14. Interior Design
15. Jewelry Design
16. Journal Writing
17. Language
18. Letter Writing
19. Mother-Child Interaction
20. Motherhood
21. Needlework
22. Newsletters
23. Painting/Printmaking
24. Photography
25. Poetry
26. Public Speaking
27. Quilting
28. Reading Group
29. Rituals
30. Shopping

This book is no longer in print.