Volume 3, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1053-6981
  • E-ISSN: 2405-9374
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AbstractA number of scholars have recently followed Bakhtin's lead in recognizing the analytic importance of discourse that contains more than one genre. This article discusses the opening lines of an address by a civil rights activist, the Reverend Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., to an audience that consisted mainly of college stu-dents. After adumbrating the general themes he planned to address, Chavis told a personal narrative regarding his success in desegregating the library in his home town in the 1950s. Although Chavis initially drew on academic lecturing style in establishing textual authority, linguistic features of the narrative linked the form of the discourse to the social milieu he was representing, thus estab-lishing narrative authenticity. Both sections contain a stylistic overlap of fea-tures found in performed African-American sermons. Drawing on Gates's (1988) use of the term Signifyin(g) and a new model of genre (Briggs & Bau-man, 1992), I suggest that this dialogue of genres enables Chavis to Signify on the ongoing speech event and its political-economic location as well as to critique the textual economy of segregation. (Linguistic Anthropology)


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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