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Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Master's Report

Degree Name

Master of Science in Rhetoric, Theory and Culture (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Humanities

Advisor 1

M. Ann Brady

Committee Member 1

Abraham Romney

Committee Member 2

Marika Seigel


Research on Ghanaian (and most African) women’s movements in the last decade suggests that the barriers to female political participation and representation no longer consist in basic or higher education enrollment. Within this context, persisting paternalistic ties and recent genderization of political assignments such as “Women’s Wings” of political parties, as well as the creation, in Ghana, of a Women and Gender Ministry limit the general participation of women in politics. A direct link to this phenomenon, is the similarly low participation of women in Ghana’s vibrant student political setting. Such a situation calls for alternate practical initiatives to forward the political goals of women. This project proposes a workshop based on theories from the field of rhetoric and composition to equip first-year female college students in Ghana with the requisite analytical skills to participate meaningfully first, in active student politics, and later in mainstream politics. The workshop focuses on getting women participants to take agency in their communities, while provoking them to think about their lives and society. Thus, the eight-week workshop is informed by community literacy practices and a feminist rhetorical resilience approach that calls for ongoing relational, communal and contextual considerations to feminist rhetorical action, and an emphasis on the usage of writing as a social act. With a key focus on multimodal presentations, Sonja Foss’ Rhetorical Criticism as The Asking of Questions method informs the design of assignments to enable participants explore the nature and function of symbols toward active political engagement.