The Musicality of Black Preaching

This semester’s course offering is entitled “The Musicality of Black Preaching.” The course is listed in both the Divinity School and ISM and has attracted graduate students from these divisions as well as the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS). In the course, students are working to develop a vocabulary for describing the form and function of this genre of religious speech. Among other highlights, students will engage the manuscript of Professor Shelley’s recently completed book on the musical afterlife of Bishop G. E. Patterson. The class will also feature several prominent guests, including Professor Maurice Wallace of Rutgers University, whose new book King’s Vibrato attends to the sonic life and afterlife of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and renowned gospel artist Richard Smallwood. Smallwood, who will be on campus in November for a series of events culminating in a concert, will help the students to think about the relationships between characteristically musical forms of Black preaching and his own compositions, many of which will be featured during the concert.