Obama's Eulogy for Clementa Pinckney: Technics of Power and Grace
38 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2015
Date Written: July 29, 2015
President O'bama’s eulogy for Clementa Pinckney took the form of a sermon in the black vernacular tradition. This particular sermon exhibits ring-form composition; as such it is symmetrical about a structural midpoint. It opens with the recitation of a scriptural passage and closes with the hymn, “Amazing Grace”. Grace is introduced as a theme in the middle section, which is also where Obama mentions the killer. The sermon is placed in a traditional of black performance going back to 19th century camp-meetings. Finally it is suggested that the performance takes place in an emerging discursive space that is neither religious nor political, but partakes of both.
Keywords: Obama, US Presidency, Religion, Rhetoric, Ring-form, Politics, African-American Studies
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