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Speaking in Tongues and Dancing DiasporaBlack Women Writing and Performing$
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Mae G. Henderson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780195116595

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195116595.001.0001

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Speaking in Tongues

Speaking in Tongues

(p.59) 3 Speaking in Tongues
Speaking in Tongues and Dancing Diaspora

Mae G. Henderson

Oxford University Press

To overcome the assumption of internal identity(homogeneity) and repression of internal differences (heterogeneity) in reading black women’s literature, this chapter proposes a theory of interpretation based on the “simultaneity of discourse” and “discursive diversity”— signifying the unique ability of black women writers to enter into contestorial and testimonial and discourse with black men, white women, white men, and black women. This tradition is dialogic and interlocutory in that it privileges “otherness” by giving voice to the Other(s) within the Self. Drawing on Bakhtin and Gadamer, the chapter develops the notions of discursive difference (heteroglossia) and identity (glossolalia) while reconstructing the scriptural notion of “speaking in tongues,” a term specifically linked with the practices of the black Holiness Sanctified Church, as a theoretical concept that is culturally specific to a black and female literary tradition. The chapter concludes by proposing that black feminist critics are charged with the hermeneutical task of interpreting tongues.

Keywords:   Mae G. Henderson, “speaking in tongues”, Holiness Sanctified Church, glossolalia, heteroglossia, simultaneity of discourse, dialogics, dialectics, discursive diversity, Self and Other, identity and difference, homogeneity, heterogeneity, Mikhail Bakhtin, Hans-Georg Gadamer

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