Christopher A. House Publishes in the International Journal of Communication

Christopher A. House has recently published his article, “Religious Rhetoric(s) of the African Diaspora: Using Oral History to Study HIV/AIDS, Community, and Rhetorical Interventions” as the lead essay in the Critical Communication History Special Edition of the International Journal of Communication 7 (2013): 1-20.  In this article he focuses on the use of oral history to examine religious rhetorics and to explain how black church leaders create safe spaces for people living with HIV/AIDS and serve as models for future rhetorical interventions that address the health crisis.   

Article Abstract

As oral performances, HIV/AIDS sermons across the African diaspora are transitory, but ministers’ memories and those of their parishioners are not. This poses the problem, for communication historians, of recovering this significant rhetorical activity. This study does so by using oral history interviews with Black Protestant church leaders in three AIDS-stricken areas: Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, and the United States. I discuss how oral history methodology, heretofore underutilized in communication studies, allows me to recover their evanescent rhetorical strategies, underpinnings, and justifications. Specifically, through the use of oral history I argue that church leaders’ religious rhetorics of identification yield interventional strategies and rhetorical resources that create safe spaces for people living with HIV/AIDS and models for future rhetorical interventions to address the crisis.

House is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Ithaca College, Ithaca New York.  His dissertation “Rhetoric(s) of the Black Church: Sex, Religion & HIV/AIDS Across the African Diaspora.” won the 2012 “Outstanding Dissertation Award” from the African American Communication and Culture Division/Black Caucus of the National Communication Association.  He has been invited to speak at the Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton New Jersey and was the keynote speaker for the Annual Association of Charismatic Theological Students there in May 2013.  He was a Visiting Professor at Memphis Theological Seminary, Rhetoric, Race and Religion Institute, in 2012.  House has delivered several papers nationally as well as internationally, at the International HIV Social Sciences and Humanities Conference Annual Convention, in Paris, France, and at the International Communication Association Annual Convention, in London.  He has recently been selected to participate in the “Seminar on Debates about Religion and Sexuality” to be held at Harvard Divinity School, Harvard University, June 10-19, 2014.

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