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Humanities 2018, 7(3), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7030080

Haunt or Home? Ethos and African American Literature

Department of Languages and Literature, Drury University, Springfield, MO 65802, USA
Received: 21 May 2018 / Revised: 25 July 2018 / Accepted: 26 July 2018 / Published: 10 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Histories of Ethos: World Perspectives on Rhetoric)
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Abstract

The African American rhetorical tradition could be described as a shelter in an alien environment or as a way station on a long journey. A focus on ethos suggests that such a narrow approach to African American literature cannot do justice to these literary texts: how these writers employ images and symbols, craft and deploy examine identities, blend, criticize, and create traditions, explore contemporary issues, and create community. Because of cultural and racist narratives, African Americans could not simply use either the pre-Socratic or Aristotelian approaches to ethos in their fight for social justice. This essay demonstrates how a postclassical approach to ethos that draws on Bourdieu’s concept of habitus and is focused on community-building and self-healing is central to the African American literature and rhetoric. View Full-Text
Keywords: African American literature; ethos; slave narratives; Phillis Wheatley; Martin Luther King; Malcolm X; W.E.B. Du Bois; Booker T. Washington African American literature; ethos; slave narratives; Phillis Wheatley; Martin Luther King; Malcolm X; W.E.B. Du Bois; Booker T. Washington
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Schur, R. Haunt or Home? Ethos and African American Literature. Humanities 2018, 7, 80.

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