Frank, Sarah Noble
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During the last two decades, feminist historiographers of rhetoric have tended to conflate a feminist historiographic methodology with a revisionary one. The result of this conflation of terms is that feminist historiographies of rhetoric are largely limited to works that focus on the recovery and rehabilitation of forgotten female rhetors, within the dominant narrative of rhetorical history. This paper draws an analogy between this situation in feminist historiography and the therapeutic relationship between Freud and Dora, wherein Freud’s objective was to put Dora “in possession of her own story,” which is really Freud’s own Oedipal story. It is my position here that Freud’s failure to validate Dora’s hysterical subjectivity as capable of a legitimate memory of the past is analogous to the feminist adherence to the conventions of the dominant historical narrative. I argue, therefore, for the importance of developing an historical interaction with the Other that refuses to circumscribe her in the very ideology that marginalizes and negates her in the first place.