The first book-length investigation of a pioneering English professor and theorist at Vassar College, A Feminist Legacy: The Rhetoric and Pedagogy of Gertrude Buck explores Buck’s contribution to the fields of education and rhetoric during the Progressive Era. By contextualizing Buck’s academic and theoretical work within the rise of women’s educational institutions like Vassar College, the social and political movement toward suffrage, and Buck’s own egalitarian political and social ideals, Suzanne Bordelon offers a scholarly and well-informed treatment of Buck’s achievements that elucidates the historical and contemporary impact of her work and life.
Bordelon argues that while Buck did not call herself a feminist, she embodied feminist ideals by demanding the full participation of her female students and by challenging power imbalances at every academic, social, and political level.
A Feminist Legacy reveals that Vassar College is an undervalued but significant site in the history of women’s argumentation and pedagogy. Drawing on a rich variety of archival sources, including previously unexamined primary material, A Feminist Legacy traces the beginnings of feminist theories of argumentation and pedagogy and their lasting legacy within the fields of education and rhetoric.