Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Ivy Glennon


Political parties are both an influential and an integral part of American politics. Parties are constantly trying to protect and expand this influence in many different ways; primarily by appearing inclusive of all groups. One strategy in this effort is to employ the use of token individuals who both symbolize the groups that the party wants to feel included and encourage a belief about the overall inclusive character of the political party. Thus, an examination of the creation of these token individuals and their use within the party becomes necessary. To do this, a critique of the rhetoric tokens produce is necessary to determine if tokens face different rhetorical tensions and produce different strategies to conquer these tensions. As keynote speakers at their respective party's conventions, Susan Molinari and Barbara Jordan are arguably tokens. To understand how the phenomena of tokens applies to Molinari and Jordan, their rhetoric can be analyzed using a multi-faceted methodology. By using tenets of political communication theory, feminist criticism, and generic criticism to highlight the uniqueness of these token speeches, a critical and informative investigation will lead to a better understanding of the unique tensions such tokens face.