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Feminist Rhetoric and Ethics in Love and Illness

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Jessica Restaino


E-book (Other formats: Paperback)
2 illustrations


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About the Book

In an ethnographic study spanning the last years of research collaborator and friend Susan Lundy Maute’s life with terminal breast cancer, author Jessica Restaino argues the interpretative challenges posed by research and writing amid illness and intimacy demand a methodological break from accepted genres and established practices of knowledge making. Restaino searches their experiences—recorded in interviews, informal writings, and correspondence—to discover a rhetoric of love and illness. She encourages a synthesis of methods and the acceptance of a reversal of roles—researcher and researched, writer and written-about—and emphasizes the relevancy of methodological diversity, the necessity of the personal, and the analytical richness of unpredictability and risk in being who we are in our scholarship at any given moment.
Bringing together critical analysis, qualitative-style research methods, close reading, Surrender: Feminist Rhetoric and Ethics inLove and Illness resists traditional ideas about academic writing and invites others to pursue collaborations that subvert accepted approaches to representation, textual production, and subjectivity. Restaino demonstrates a way of writing—the rendering of the academic text itself—that suggests how we do our work has resonance for what we produce. She offers framing questions for use by others interested in doing similar kinds of scholarship that may frighten, overwhelm, or confound. This book deepens our understanding of subjectivity and the gains made by feminist resistance to conventional concepts of objectivity in research collaborations.


Jessica Restaino is an associate professor of writing studies and the director of gender, sexuality, and women’s studies at Montclair State University. She is the author of First Semester: Graduate Students, Teaching Writing, and the Challenge of Middle Ground and coeditor, with Laurie Cella, of Unsustainable: Re-imagining Community Literacy, Public Writing, Service-Learning, and the University