Date of Award

May 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication and Rhetorical Studies


Charles E. Morris III


gay liberation, rhetorical history, socialist feminism, social movements

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


This project charts a rhetorical history of the New American Movement’s (NAM) organizational debates on gay liberation and socialist feminism between 1970 and 1980. NAM was a socialist feminist organization active across the 1970s in the United States that sought to create a mass movement through a conception of a particularly “American Socialism.” Through a periodization of NAM’s archival history, I highlight how NAM members were able to work in coalition with a wide range of individuals and groups both within and outside of the organization to build a socialist feminist conception of gay liberation. Drawing on original archival research performed at four archives in the United States in collections of speeches, internal memos, personal and organizational correspondence, newsletters, and discussion notes, I argue that NAM’s adoption of a socialist feminist approach to gay liberation augments “siloed” rhetorical approaches to social movements in the 1970s in as much as NAM members, as well as their theories and practice, worked out of, within, and with autonomous liberation movements. This project also intervenes in histories of gay liberation, feminism, and socialism in the 1970s by centering NAM’s, largely unaddressed in scholarship, work which challenges the seemingly stable lines between each movement.


Open Access



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