Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 5-10-2019


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Communication and Rhetorical Studies


McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Pat Arneson

Committee Member

Erik Garrett

Committee Member

Janie Harden Fritz


phenomenology of narrative, narrative structures, body memory, the talk, narrative paradigm, phenomenology, Black body, Existentia Africana, Black existential phenomenology, Black body memory, race, social construction


This project offers the term Black body memory to point toward the threatened existential disposition of Black people in society today. Moreover, Black body memory points to the narrative paradigm of a shared experience. While popular conceptions theorize race as a social construction, the lived reality of Black people is frequently imbued by racialization and racism. Black body memory emerges from the intersection of the Black body articulated by Franz Fanon, Charles Johnson, and George Yancy, among others, and body memory, as described by Edward Casey and Thomas Fuchs. Black body memory is a culturally-laden and sedimented lived reality. The Black body receives and maintains memories reflective of her raced disposition. Such knowledge or memory becomes a tool for navigating the social sphere and at times for navigating survival. The talk manifests as a communicative dispensation of Black body memory and is the rhetorical artifact discussed in this project. The talk has recently come to attention with the current state of affairs concerning the vulnerability of Black lives in the public sphere. In the interest of teaching self-protection, the talk includes a variety of directives on how to respond to potential confrontations with police and self-deputized individuals.