English Ph.D. Dissertations


Making Their Voices Heard: How Women in Kosovo Used Amplification to Ensure Representation in a Newly Created Democracy

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


English (Rhetoric and Writing)

First Advisor

Sue Carter Wood (Advisor)

Second Advisor

Danielle Kuhl (Other)

Third Advisor

Neil Baird (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Lee Nickoson (Committee Member)


In 2008 Kosovo gained independence and began to transition into statehood. During that transition a new constitution was created providing an opportunity for new leadership roles for Kosovar women. In 2017, Kosovar Ambassador Teuta Sahatqija gave a speech at Ohio Northern University’s College of Law titled “The Leadership Roles of Women in Transitional States.” It was at this speech that she shared many stories and photos illustrating the ways in which Kosovar women were breaking silences during this transition period. This dissertation applies the lens of the rhetoric of silence and feminist rhetoric to the rhetorical moves made by women in Kosovo that Ambassador Sahatqija described in her speech. Four discussion points of the Ambassador’s speech (artifacts) were chosen for analysis. The artifacts chosen were a story she told about the parliament women protesting a diplomatic assignment list that was only comprised of men, Articles 7, 22, and 37 of the new Kosovo Constitution, and a memorial and an art installation both dedicated to the estimated 20,000 rape victims of the Kosovo war.

Heuristic analysis of these artifacts explored the ways in which these artifacts helped women overcome silences previously placed upon them, prevent future silencing, and amplified Kosovar women’s voices. The analysis found that each artifact gave women in Kosovo agency and empowered them to make global changes and amplify the voices of women. It found that each of the artifacts utilized social circulation, globalization, critical imagination, and strategic contemplation in ways that allowed them to de-silence women. This dissertation concludes that the implications of these rhetorical moves to overcome silences and amplify marginalized voices can have impact on a larger more global scale. It also suggests ways that we can incorporate the same movements in our classrooms in order to continue to amplify previously silenced voices and help our students find their own voice.