Jane Addams’ Rhetorical Ear: Teaching, Learning, and Listening in the Settlement House Model

  • Amy E. DaytonEmail author


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.


  1. Addams, Jane. 1902. First Report of the Labor Museum at Hull House, Chicago, 1901–1902, 1–16.
  2. ———. 1907 [1964]. Democracy and Social Ethics, edited by Anne Firor Scott. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  3. ———. 1912a. “A Modern Lear.” Survey 29 (5): 131–37.Google Scholar
  4. ———. 1912b [1961]. Twenty Years at Hull House. New York: Penguin, Signet Classic.Google Scholar
  5. ———. 1916 [2002]. The Long Road of Woman’s Memory. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  6. ———. 1994. On Education. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  7. Bickford, Susan. 1996. The Dissonance of Democracy: Listening, Conflict, and Citizenship. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Booth, Wayne. 2004. The Rhetoric of Rhetoric: The Quest for Effective Communication. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.Google Scholar
  9. Carlson, Robert A. 1975. The Quest for Conformity: Americanization Through Education. New York: John Wiley and Sons.Google Scholar
  10. Carson, Mina. 1990. Social Thought and the American Social Settlement, 1885–1930. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  11. Ceraso, Steph. 2014. “(Re-)Educating the Senses. Multimodal Listening, Bodily Learning, and the Composition of Sonic Experiences.” College English 77 (2): 102–123.Google Scholar
  12. Cremin, Lawrence. 1961. The Transformation of the School: Progressivism in American Education, 1876–1957. New York: Vintage.Google Scholar
  13. Danisch, Robert. 2007. Pragmatism, Democracy, and the Necessity of Rhetoric. Columbia, SC: The University of South Carolina Press.Google Scholar
  14. Dayton-Wood, Amy. 2008. “Teaching English for a Better America.” Rhetoric Review 27 (4): 397–414.
  15. Dewey, John. 1916. Democracy and Education: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  16. Diaz, Marie. Oral History-018. March 4, 1982. Jane Addams Memorial Collection. Box 2, Folder 24. University of Illinois-Chicago Special Collections.Google Scholar
  17. Duffy, William. 2011. “Remembering is the Remedy: Jane Addams Response to Conflicted Discourse.” Rhetoric Review 30 (2): 135–152. Scholar
  18. Fiesta, Melissa. 2007. “Unsettling Working-Class Commonplaces in Jane Addams Settlement House Rhetoric.” In Who Says? Working-Class Rhetoric, Class Consciousness, and Community, edited by William Degenaro, 69–87. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.Google Scholar
  19. Fischer, Marilyn. 2004. On Addams. Toronto: Thomson/Wadsworth.Google Scholar
  20. Gearhart, Sally Miller. 1979 [2004]. “The Womanization of Rhetoric.” In Readings in Feminist Rhetorical Theory, edited by Karen A. Foss, Sonja K. Foss, and Cindy L. Griffin, 241–259. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  21. Jackson, Brian, and Gregory Clark. 2014. Trained Capacities: John Dewey, Rhetoric, and Democratic Practice. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Knight, Louise. 2010. Jane Addams: Spirit in Action. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  23. Knight, Louise. 2014. “John Dewey and Jane Addams Debate War.” In Trained Capacities: John Dewey, Rhetoric, and Democratic Practice, edited by Brian Jackson and Gregory Clark, 106–124. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lengermann, Patricia, and Gillian Niebrugge. 2015. “Emotion and the World of Sociological Theory.” Conference Papers—American Sociological Association. January 1 (22). SocINDEX with Full Text, EBSCOhost. Accessed September 1, 2018.Google Scholar
  25. McMillan, Gloria. 2002. “Keeping the Conversation Going: Jane Addams’ Rhetorical Strategies in ‘A Modern Lear.’” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 32 (3): 61–75.
  26. O’Rourke, Bridget. 2014. Jane Addams in the Classroom, edited by David Schaafsma, 32–42. Urbana and Champaign: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  27. Ratcliffe, Krista. 2005. Rhetorical Listening: Identification, Gender, and Whiteness. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Roskelly, Hephzibah. 2013. “The Hope for Peace and Bread.” In Women and Rhetoric Between the Wars, edited by Ann George, M. Elizabeth Weiser, and Janet Zepernick, 32–47. Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Seigfried, Charlene Haddock. 1996. Pragmatism and Feminism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  30. Seigfried, Charlene Haddock. 1999. “Socializing Democracy: Jane Addams and John Dewey.” Philosophy of the Social Sciences 29 (2): 207–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Wendler, Rachel. 2014. “‘Socializing Democracy’: The Community Literacy Pedagogy of Jane Addams.” Community Literacy Journal 8 (2): 33–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA

Personalised recommendations