Werner, J. B. (2015). Black America’s double war: Ralph Ellison and “critical participation” during World War II. Rhetoric & Public Affairs, 18(3), 441-470.
Abstract: This essay analyzes Ralph Ellison’s 1943 “Editorial Comment” from the Negro Quarterly. In the editorial, Ellison highlighted the shortcomings of black America’s attitudinal responses to World War II; as a corrective, he offered “critical participation,” which entailed supporting U.S. and Allied principles while remaining vigilant against white supremacy. I argue that Ellison’s editorial signifıed more than just a meditation on wartime political strategies; it also marked the articulation of black community. Through a close reading of Ellison’s editorial, I contend that the text grounded black community in the enactment of self-conscious doubleness. Ellison’s appeal to self-conscious doubleness contributed to African American intellectual culture in that it outlined an innovative way for navigating the constraints of “double consciousness.” Rather than regarding doubleness as indicative of a static identity, Ellison engaged it as a source of dynamic rhetorical possibility.
Werner, J. B., & Cronn-Mills, D. (2015). Rhetorical theory. In S. M. Croucher (Ed.), Understanding Communication Theory: A Beginner’s Guide (pp. 262-287). New York: Routledge.
Description: This chapter surveys major concepts within rhetorical theory as a way of acclimating undergraduate students to the study of rhetoric.