Katie Cannon, Alice Walker and Emancipatory Proclamation
Toward a Womanist Homiletic builds on the work of Katie G. Cannon and Alice Walker to offer a womanist paradigm for analyzing the sermons of Black women and proposes the content of a womanist homiletic. This womanist homiletic is a foundational construct that includes an examination of theological language, the insights on the ‘trans-rational’ nature of preaching and the function of embodiment and performed identity in preaching. It also includes insights from a womanist critique of language in Black preaching, particularly the prevalence of derogatory language about women in the sacred rhetoric of Black preaching.
Introduction Womanist thought emerged in 1985 as a methodological perspec- tive used by African-American women scholars in religion. The word “womanist” was coined by Alice Walker in 1983: Womanist 1. From womanish. (Opp. Of “girlish,” i.e., frivolous, irresponsible, not serious.) A black feminist or feminist of color. From the black folk expres- sion of mothers to female children, “You acting womanish,” i.e., like a woman. Usually referring to outrageous, audacious, courageous or willful behavior. Wanting to know more and in greater depth than is considered “good” for one. Interested in grown-up doings. Acting grown up. Being grown up. Interchangeable with another black folk expression: “you trying to be grown.” Responsible. In charge. Serious. 2. Also: A woman who loves other women, sexually and/or nonsexually. Appreciates and prefers women’s culture, wom- en’s emotional flexibility (values tears as natural counterbalance of laughter), and women’s strength. Sometimes loves individual men, sexually and/or nonsexually. Committed to survival and wholeness of entire people, male and female. Not a separatist, except periodically, for health. Traditionally univer- salist, as in: “Mama, why are we brown, pink, and yellow, and our cousins are white, beige, and black? Ans.: “Well, you know the colored race is just like a flower garden, with every color flower represented.” Traditionally capable, Allen_Book.indb 1 03/12/12 3:23 PM 2 toward a womanist homiletic as in: “Mama, I’m walking to Canada and I’m taking you and a bunch of other slaves with me.” Reply: “It wouldn’t be the first time.” 3. Loves music....
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