L’Eplattenier, Barbara E. “Questioning Our Methodological Metaphors.” 133-145.
In her chapter, L’Eplattenier presents a critique of metaphors used to describe methodological practices, specifically focusing on the “map as a guide” metaphor used in historical research in rhetoric and composition. Using the history of Progressive-era women activists Rose Schneiderman, Clara Lemlich, and Pauline Newman, L’Eplattenier explains her four major objections to the metaphor, which she believes clouds the real purpose and challenges of uncovering other histories for study in rhetoric and composition. Her first objection is that the map metaphor places the historian outside the history, ignoring the fact that the historian is the agent who chooses the kind of history he or she will write through the articles and artifacts used and those not used. Her second objection is that the map metaphor doesn’t take into account the complexity of historical figures – people cannot be easily mapped. Third, the map metaphor also doesn’t acknowledge the social and political forces at play at the moment in history being studied. Last, the map metaphor cannot shift and change over time – its static snapshot view of history is against the flexibility inherent in rhetorical study.