"It Was My Job to Keep My Children Safe": Sandra Steingraber and the Parental Rhetoric of Precaution
Year of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Other Degree Name/Area of Focus
Rhetoric and Public Discourse
Department or School/College
Department of Communication Studies
Neva Hassanein, Sara Hayden
environmental rhetoric, the feminine style, autobi
University of Montana
Advancing the environmental movement requires overcoming a number of rhetorical challenges. Rhetors must negotiate the significant dichotomies of environmental rhetoric including human/nature, public/private, and science/experience. Moreover, they face the challenge of educating and mobilizing uninformed citizens to take action. This analysis focuses on how Sandra Steingraber, an ecologist, writer, and environmental activist, negotiates these challenges. I argue that Steingraber negotiates these challenges by turning to three interrelated rhetorical strategies: the feminine style, autobiography, and synecdoche. I illustrate this through an analysis of two texts Steingraber wrote after becoming a mother: Having Faith: An Ecologist’s Journey to Motherhood, and Raising Elijah: Protecting Our Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis. I argue that Steingraber’s rhetoric aids her in overcoming a dichotomous approach to environmental issues, and that Raising Elijah is especially effective in positioning her target audience of parents to take action on the individual, collective, and political levels.
Murphy, Mollie Katherine, ""It Was My Job to Keep My Children Safe": Sandra Steingraber and the Parental Rhetoric of Precaution" (2014). Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers. 4263.
© Copyright 2014 Mollie Katherine Murphy