Thursday, April 1, 2010

Things To Look For in African American Rhetoric


NOMMO – creative power of the word

GOALS – concerned not just with influencing or results, but process and values as well.

UNITY OF STYLE AND GOALS IN MAAT – good speech is true speech, with good results. Clever speech leading to bad results is not good speech.

THE SPEAKER – anyone, not just important people. Everyone should be the focus of good rhetoric.

SPIRITUAL AND SECULAR – no strict delineation between them.

FAME GOES WITH RIGHTEOUSNESS – no hate mongers are historically great speakers. Champions of righteousness get that title.

RHETORIC IS INCLUSIVE – speech, writing, poetry, song, drama, everything that communicates.

CLASSICAL KEMETIC CANONS: self control, timing, restraint, fluency, truthfulness.

VALUES: dignity and rights of the human person, well-being and flourishing of the community, integrity and value of the environment, reciprocal solidarity and cooperation of humanity.

RHETORIC IS AN ART: but is a part of everyday living.

ORAL RHETORIC IS: immediate and direct relationship, speaker and audience are one, common and everyday, spontaneous, improvised for purpose and situation, respects individuality within the group.

CHARACTERISTICS: indirect, language play, read between the lines, rhythm of speech, stylin’, lyrical use of language, improvisation, call and response, reliance on mythoforms, repetition, narrative style, rappin’/conversational style,

AFROCENTRIC WORLDVIEW: interconnectedness, collective identity (responsible), results are more important than intent, body-mind-spirit unity, spiritual focus, timing important, changes take time.


DRAMATISM: act, scene, agent, agency, purpose. Find most important 1 or 2 and see how they influence your understanding of the discourse. Kenneth Burke.

FANTASY THEME ANALYSIS: enduring fantasy themes are used to make the rhetoric work. Bormann.

HISTORICAL ANALYSIS: discourse follows a pattern and practice set by history.

MOVEMENT STUDY: rhetoric is part of an identifiable rhetorical movement.  Griffin.

ARISTOTELIAN: use Aristotle’s canons to understand how discourse makes and proves arguments.

PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDY: the psychological condition of the speaker is the critical element to understand.

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