Spring 2020

Signifying, Sermonizing, and Storytelling: African American Rhetorical Theory

Listed in: Black Studies, as BLST-115  |  English, as ENGL-292


Derek G. Handley (Section 01)


(Offered as ENGL 292 and BLST 115) This course is intended as an informed introduction to African American rhetoric, which is defined as the “communicative practices, and persuasive strategies rooted in freedom struggles by people of African ancestry in America” (Jackson and Richardson). The readings and discussions will familiarize students with various contemporary theorists whose ideas broaden contemporary conceptualization of African American rhetoric. The course will focus on representative writers, canonical texts, and theoretical debates within the field. By the end of the course, students will have a richer understanding of how rhetoric is a tool of social change encompassing a variety of written, visual, and verbal communication strategies. Readings will include major twentieth-century thinkers such as Keith Gilyard, Cornel West, Maulana Karenga, Mark McPhail, Molefi Kete Asante, and Geneva Smitherman.

Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Visiting Professor Handley.

If Overenrolled: Preference given to undeclared sophomores and to English and Black Studies majors.


Attention to Issues of Class, Attention to Issues of Gender and Sexuality, Attention to Issues of Race, Attention to Issues of Social Justice, Attention to Writing


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020