Jane Addams’ Rhetorical Ear: Teaching, Learning, and Listening in the Settlement House Model
Jane Addams offers a pedagogical model that fosters civic engagement through the practice of rhetorical listening. Listening is a natural extension of an invitational style of rhetoric that privileges cooperation and collaboration over overt persuasion and conversion; focuses on the concrete results of human interaction; and recognizes the power of individual experience in shaping public dialogue. Influenced by her feminist, pragmatist ethos, Addams sees listening as an embodied, active, and reciprocal process that relies on affectionate interpretation of her interlocutors. The pedagogical model of the Labor Museum reflects Addams’ emphasis on the communal nature of experience, and the role of listening in making productive use of it. Her use of narrative further demonstrates the ways in which listening forms the basis of a civic pedagogy, and contributes to rhetorical engagement.
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