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Kristy Maddux

Maddux 2021

Associate Professor, Communication

(301) 405-6533

2103A Skinner Building
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Education

Ph.D., University of Georgia

Research Expertise

Gender
Public Address
Rhetoric

Curriculum Vitae

Kristy Maddux is a scholar of rhetoric and political culture who is interested in rhetorical practices of democratic citizenship, and especially how they are inflected by gender, race, religion, ability, and other identity markers.  She is invested in thinking about how ordinary citizens fuel democracy through habits such as deliberation, public advocacy, protest, listening, empathy, stranger sociability, and more, as well as the structures that encourage and inhibit those habits.

Her current projects investigate how the built environment facilitates such democratic habits of citizenship—how our streets, sidewalks, benches, lighting, parks, and more shape how citizens are able to interact with each other.  She is examining this question in three specific cases: the corpus of work by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition fairgrounds in Chicago, and the 1960s freeway revolt in Washington, D.C.

Cover of Practicing Citizenship by Kristy Maddux

Maddux’s most recent book, Practicing Citizenship: Women’s Rhetoric at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, considered how women articulated democratic practices of citizenship at a time when they had been officially declared citizens but most could not vote.  Looking at hundreds of speeches delivered over the six month course of a world’s fair, she shows women of all classes—activists, socialites, professionals, philanthropists—articulating four practices of citizenship, which she calls democratic deliberation, organized womanhood, economic participation, and racial uplift. 

Maddux’s early work, including her 2010 book The Faithful Citizen, concerned popular Christian media and historic religious figures such as William Jennings Bryan and Aimee Semple McPherson.  

She continues to teach and advise on all of these topics: feminist rhetorical history, deliberative theory, social movements, religious rhetoric, and contemporary media.  

Graduate Advising Philosophy

Publications

Practicing Citizenship: Women's Rhetoric at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair

Practicing Citizenship provides a glimpse at an unprecedented alternative act of citizenship by women of the time: their deliberative participation in the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893.

Communication

Lead: Kristy Maddux
Dates:

By 1893, the Supreme Court had officially declared women to be citizens, but most did not have the legal right to vote. In Practicing Citizenship, Kristy Maddux provides a glimpse at an unprecedented alternative act of citizenship by women of the time: their deliberative participation in the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893.

Hailing from the United States and abroad, the more than eight hundred women speakers at the World’s Fair included professionals, philanthropists, socialites, and reformers addressing issues such as suffrage, abolition, temperance, prison reform, and education. Maddux examines the planning of the event, the full program of women speakers, and dozens of speeches given in the fair’s daily congresses. In particular, she analyzes the ways in which these women shaped the discourse at the fair and modeled to the world practices of democratic citizenship, including deliberative democracy, racial uplift, organizing, and economic participation. In doing so, Maddux shows how these pioneering women claimed sociopolitical ground despite remaining disenfranchised.

This carefully researched study makes significant contributions to the studies of rhetoric, American women’s history, political history, and the history of the World’s Fair itself. Most importantly, it sheds new light on women’s activism in the late nineteenth century; even amidst the suffrage movement, women innovated practices of citizenship beyond the ballot box.

The Faithful Citizen: Popular Christian Media and Gendered Civic Identities

Argues that popular Christian media not only communicate avenues for civic engagement but do so in profoundly gendered terms.

Communication

Lead: Kristy Maddux
Award Organization:

2011 Outstanding Book Award from the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language, and Gender
2011 Book of the Year Award from the Religious Communication Association


Dates:

For decades, American popular media have instructed audiences about their roles and significance in the public sphere. In The Faithful Citizen, rhetorical critic Kristy Maddux argues that popular Christian media not only communicate avenues for civic engagement but do so in profoundly gendered terms. Her detailed interrogation of popular Christian movies, books, and television shows—the Left Behind series, Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, Amazing Grace, 7th Heaven, and the blockbuster The Da Vinci Code—exposes five competing models of how Christians should behave in the civic sphere as their gendered selves. What emerges is a typology that insightfully reveals how these varying faith-based models of engagement uniquely shape public discourse and influence the larger picture of contemporary politics.