Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department or School

Communication, Media and Theatre Arts

Committee Member

Keon Pettiway, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ray Quiel, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ana Monteiro-Ferreira, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Doris Fields, Ph.Dira, Ph.D.


Communal music has been and is still a prominent method of cultural expression for generations, in particular for the generations of displaced Africans on American soil. The roots of this music, an amalgam of African tradition and a forced Christianity, have remained a constant companion to African American cultural response to inequity. Thus, it is imperative that communication tools be developed that allow analysis of this music, collections of communally sung works that communicate the destruction and continual reconstruction of a colonized culture. The purpose of this study is to explicate communally sung hymns, those sung in a social justice context, as an example of classical African orature. As such, these hymns utilize various aesthetics of nommo, the productive word. These aesthetics are used to move toward maat, realized as communal and spiritual harmony. In order to advance understanding of this process, I introduce binding and location as rhetorical moves that speak to past and future rhetorical legacy.