Dr. Watkins-Dickerson is a womanist rhetorician who foregrounds Black women's ways of knowing in her work. She infuses this insight into her academic efforts in order cite and curate Black women's words, ways, wisdom, and wit demonstrating their intellectual ingenuity and prophetic prowess in public places and private spaces.
Womanist Rhetorical Theory
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Black Women in Politics
RELIGION & SPIRITUALITY
Womanism & Religion
Black Women & Breastfeeding
Alternative Care & Support
Teacher. Thinker. Theorist.
Over the last 18 years, I have had the opportunity to teach all ages in formal academic spaces, churches, and even in the military.
I would be honored to combine my knowledge, experience, and love for inspiring others to lecture for your class, provide a workshop and training for your congregation, or navigate a consulting project for your organization.
Below is a list of free access to some of my academic publications.
A Black Woman for President
In this book, I explore the concept of womanist rhetorical theory, as well as consider the political personas of the late Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, former U.S. Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun, and no Vice-President Kamala Harris through analyzing their presidential campaign announcement speeches amid the backdrop of American culture.
The text will be published by the University Press of Mississippi.
Communication Theory: Racially Diverse and Inclusive Perspectives
In this essay, I define womanist rhetorical theory in a textbook exploring racially diverse and inclusive perspectives of communication beyond the white normative cannon. In this expansive definition, I expand on my former published works to build a more specific frame to this theory and methodology and its usefulness in the discipline.
This newly published textbook "decenters traditional views of communication by highlighting perspectives from the global majority. The text deviates from a white-colonial-normative theoretical core to provide students with a more holistic exploration of communication theory". As a contributing author, I present my thoughts on womanist rhetorical theory and how scholars of communication can use this framework to push beyond racially repressive, misogynist, classist, and otherwise unwelcoming perspectives of considering the discipline.
"Don't Get Weary": Using a Womanist Rhetorical Imaginary to Curate the Beloved Community in Times of Rhetorical Emergency
Viewing Black pain for pleasure and entertainment has not only been held in high regard from the inception of this country but has also recently been infused into communal consumption of Black death on social media. This malevolently charged discursive reality makes the creation of safe embodied religious space a persistent challenge for Black women and men of faith. However, technology also serves as an aid to push forth subversive and supportive digital communities and congregations. Here, the Beloved Community is transformed, and collective liberation again becomes a theological imperative. In this article, I analyze the Pink Robe Chronicles as a digital hush harbor. Considering this space as a womanist rhetorical imaginary that redefines kinship and renegotiates discursive boundaries, I explore how its curator hallowedly holds the precarity of Black pain and juxtaposes it with the power and promise of a deliberately Afrocentric ethic to speak wholeness to those connected by its teleological imperative.
To read, click here.
You are Somebody: A Study of the Prophetic Rhetoric of Rev. Henry Logan Starks, D.Min.
While Revs. Martin Luther King Jr. and James Lawson are credited as the forces behind the Memphis sanitation strike, local faces galvanizing the movement are infrequently studied. The sacred rhetoric of African Methodist minister Rev. Henry Logan Starks—known as the “Gentle Giant” and trained in the tradition of holy defiance, transformative resistance, and Black liberation—is remembered and recalled as theologically transformative and prophetically provocative. Using ideological criticism, this essay will analyze the phrase “You are somebody” as an example of prophetic rhetoric and rhetorical re-conditioning.
To read, click here.
Managing the Classroom as a Military Veteran and Graduate Instructor:
“Please Don’t Call Me by My First Name”
In spite of potentially idealized protections provided by my Veteran status or prerequisite professional competence, teaching as a graduate student instructor has presented several challenges while pursuing my doctorate. In particular, my identity as a Black woman brings with it a certain nonnegotiable existential quandary, further complicating my experiences. These challenges sometimes stifle my progress as an effective classroom manager, and at times, silence my voice. Communication scholar Katherine Hendrix’s research strongly suggests graduate teaching instructors need extensive professional support. As Black women faculty are underrepresented, Black female graduate students have very few mentors to choose from as they matriculate and navigate their various roles as learners and leaders in the collegiate classroom. With these factors in mind, I utilize Critical Race Theory to consider the disrespect, lack of support, and critical diversity and inclusion failures I have experienced as a graduate teaching instructor.
To read, click here.
Fighting to be Heard: Shirley Chisholm and the Makings of a Womanist Rhetorical Framework
In this chapter, we examine the presidential candidacy of Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm. We argue Shirley Chisholm’s political campaign discourse is one example in a small sample of Black female public [and private] figures who make up what we call a womanist rhetorical genre. We focus our analysis on Chisholm’s words through her campaign announcement speech and her text Unbought and Unbossed. We also examine other texts, journals, and reports to augment our claims and fully explore the rhetorical legacy of political communication of Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm.
To read, click here.
A Call (and Response) to Battle Rap
Although battle rap is not a new cultural phenomenon on the hip hop scene, its value as a text is not widely listed in academic circles. Therefore, we contend battle rap culture is a prime space to analyze the influence and inherent understanding of hip hop. This art form’s struggle, strain, conquest, and challenge ebbs and flows like an athletic competition infusing a culturally distinct experience of Black ontology. With this in mind, we* argue battle rap creates a competitive podium where we can examine communication, culture and critically assess identification within specific groups.
To read, find the text here.
*Paper co-authored with DiArron M.