Feminism in Practice: Communication Strategies for Making Change
Karen A. Foss, Sonja K. Foss, and Alena Amato Ruggerio
Long Grove, Illinois: Waveland Press, 2022
1-4786-4758-2 or 978-1-4786-4758-4

Feminism in Practice  uses feminism as a blueprint for exploring change strategies. It features contemporary feminists from diverse arenas, including disability activist Vilissa Thompson, musician Lizzo, climate activist Jamie Margolin, comedian Margaret Cho, showrunner Shonda Rhimes, New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern, poet Amanda Gorman, and US representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Readers come to know the women through brief biographies, their definitions of feminism, and the change strategies they employ. Extensive quotations and line drawings help bring the women to life, and questions for reflection encourage readers to think through their own relationship to feminism and change.

Readers with an interest in feminism will find the two opening chapters especially useful. Chapter 1 defines feminism, raising issues with the typical definition of feminism as the effort to achieve equality between women and men. It concludes with a description of over twenty types of feminism, including cosmopolitan feminism, ecofeminism, girlie feminism, Indigenous feminism, power feminism, and womanism. Chapter 2 describes the triggering events, happening places, and key ideas of the four waves of feminism. Taken together, these opening chapters provide readers with a comprehensive understanding of the diversity and complexity of feminist movement.

Readers with an interest in the processes of change also will find the book a valuable resource. It is organized around five primary objectives that animate contemporary change efforts—proclaiming identity, naming a problem, enriching a system, changing a system, and creating an alternative system. Each objective is developed through theoretical assumptions and twelve change strategies that show it at work in feminist movement. Feminism in Practice  also serves as a practical handbook that readers can use to experiment with the strategies and expand their toolkits for creating change in their lives and worlds.

PART 1: Feminism as a Blueprint for Change
Chapter 1: Making Meanings: Defining Feminism
Feminism as a Perspective
Feminism Multiplied
Feminisms, not Feminism
Chapter 2: Making Waves: A History of Feminism
First Wave Feminism
Second Wave Feminism
Third Wave Feminism
Fourth Wave Feminism
Feminism Continued
PART 2: Proclaiming Identity
Chapter 3: Padma Lakshmi
Chapter 4: Kat Blaque
Chapter 5: Vilissa Thompson
Chapter 6: Lizzo
PART 3: Naming a Problem
Chapter 7: Nadya Okamoto
Chapter 8: Jamie Margolis
Chapter 9: Margaret Cho
Chapter 10: Camille Paglia
PART 4: Enriching a System
Chapter 11: Shonda Rhimes
Chapter 12: Jacinda Ardern
Chapter 13: Joana Vasconcelos
Chapter 14: Malala Yousafzai
PART 5: Changing a System
Chapter 15: Carrie Goldberg
Chapter 16: Nadia Bolz-Weber
Chapter 17: Serena Williams
Chapter 18: Amanda Gorman
PART 6: Creating an Alternative System
Chapter 19: Sara Ahmed
Chapter 20: Leslie Kanes Weisman
Chapter 21: Jennifer Armbrust
Chapter 22: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

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Inviting Understanding: A Portrait of Invitational Rhetoric
Edited by Sonja K. Foss and Cindy L. Griffin
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2020
978-1-5381-3103-9 or 978-1-5381-3104-6

Inviting Understanding: A Portrait of Invitational Rhetoric is an authoritative reference work designed to provide a comprehensive overview of the theory of invitational rhetoric, developed twenty-five years ago by Sonja K. Foss and Cindy L. Griffin. This theory challenges the conventional conception of rhetoric as persuasion and defines rhetoric as an invitation to understanding as a means to create a relationship rooted in equality, immanent value, and self-determination. Rather than celebrating argumentation, division, and winning, invitational rhetoric encourages rhetors to listen across differences, to engage in dialogue, and to try to understand positions different from their own.

Organized into the three categories of foundations, extensions, and applications, Inviting Understanding is a compilation of published articles and new essays that explore and expand the theory. The book provides readers with access to a wide range of resources about this revolutionary theory in areas such as community organizing, social justice activism, social media, film, graffiti, institutional and team decision making, communication and composition pedagogy, and interview protocols.

Current cultural, social, and political divisions in the United States and across the world suggest that the principles and practices of invitational rhetoric are sorely needed, and a volume that demonstrates its application in various contexts may inspire readers to put it into practice in the contexts in which they work and live.

Part I. Foundations
1. The Womanization of Rhetoric: Sally Miller Gearhart
2. Proposal for a Feminist Rhetoric: Sonja K. Foss and Cindy L. Griffin
3. Beyond Persuasion: A Proposal for an Invitational Rhetoric : Sonja K. Foss and Cindy L. Griffin
4. Beyond Traditional Conceptualizations of Rhetoric: Invitational Rhetoric and a Move toward Civility: Jennifer E. Bone, Cindy L. Griffin, and T. M. Linda Scholz
5. The Metatheoretical Foundations of Invitational Rhetoric: Axiological, Epistemological, and Ontological Explorations : Sonja K. Foss and Cindy L. Griffin
Part II. Extensions
6. Fusing Horizons: Standpoint Hermeneutics and Invitational Rhetoric : Kathleen J. Ryan and Elizabeth J. Natalle
7. Telling the Story, Hearing the Story: Narrative Co-Construction and Crisis Research: Karen Taylor, Rita Durant, and David Boje
8. Planting Seeds of Change: Ella Baker’s Radical Rhetoric: Marilyn Bordwell DeLaure
9. Rhetorics of Invitation and Refusal in Terry Tempest Williams’s The Open Space of DemocracyJill Swiencicki
10. Invention for the Invitational Rhetor: Allen Ginsberg’s “Wichita Vortex Sutra”: Stephen M. Llano
11. Challenges to the Enactment of Invitational Rhetoric in the Age of Mobile Communication Technologies: Sonja K. Foss and Jeanine Warisse Turner
Part III. Applications
12. Love as a Strategy for Community and Social Justice Organizing: Invitational Rhetoric in Murfreesboro Loves: Roberta Chevrette and Joshua Hendricks
13. Practicing Invitational Rhetoric: East Central Ministries’ Approach to Community Development: Sarah De Los Santos Upton
14. Discussions on Kneeling During the National Anthem: An Analysis of High School Football Players Employing Invitational Rhetoric: Kristen A. Hungerford
15. An Invitation to Rhetoric: A Generative Dialogue on Performance, Possibility, and Feminist Potentialities in Invitational Rhetoric: Bryant Keith Alexander and Michele Hammers
16. Understanding Affectively: Beyond the Hills as Cinematic Invitational Rhetoric: Alina Haliliuc
17. Participatory Graffiti as Invitational Rhetoric: The Case of O Machismo: Benjamin R. Bates
18. Invitational Rhetoric as a Springboard to Using Dialogue across the Curriculum: Patricia Hawk and Rachel Pokora
19. Creating an Invitational Classroom Environment: Lessons Lived and Learned: Donna Marie Nudd
20. Disrupting Disruption: Invitational Pedagogy as a Response to Student Resistance: A. Abby Knoblauch
21. An Invitation to Reason: The Process of Discovery Essay: Kathleen M. Hunzer
22. Considering the Alternative in Composition Pedagogy: Teaching Invitational Rhetoric with Lynda Barry’s What It IsSusan Kirtley
Part IV. Expanding the Invitation
23. The Theory of Invitational Rhetoric: Anticipating Future Scholarship: Sonja K. Foss and Cindy L. Griffin
24. Compendium of Publications Related to Invitational Rhetoric: Sonja K. Foss, Cindy L. Griffin, and Andrew Gilmore

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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

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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

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Rhetorical Criticism: Exploration and Practice, Fifth Edition
Sonja K. Foss
Long Grove, Illinois: Waveland Press, 2018

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.

Part I. Introduction
1. The Nature of Rhetorical Criticism
2. Doing Rhetorical Criticism
3. Neo-Aristotelian Criticism
Part II. Critical Approaches
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

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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 978-1-4786-1524-8 or 1-4786-1524-9

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 book may be ordered from Waveland Press:

Readings in Contemporary Rhetoric
Edited by 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
11. 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,
Edited by 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.