OF THE MANY SCHOLARS WHO HAVE INFLUENCED my thinking for this undertaking, W. Ross Winterowd and Keith Gilyard are at the forefront. Some of Winterowd's skepticism about rhetorical theories that rely too heavily on elusive metaphors has rubbed off on me, a former doctoral student of his. I have also adapted (decidedly beyond his original intent, I am sure) Ross's belief that scholarship in rhetoric and composition can maintain a useful dialogical relationship with literary scholarship, even when the major advocates from each of these respective camps would rather ignore the other.
I first became acquainted with Professor Gilyard in 1995 at the Conference on College Composition and Communication. I was and remain impressed with his uncanny facility to shift seamlessly from the academy vernacular to African American vernacular English. His verbal facility, it seems to me, transcends the technical descriptor “code switching.” To be sure, Gilyard has the brains and boldness to interrogate the cultures from which these linguistic registers derive.
I especially thank Shirley Wilson Logan for her invaluable comments on early drafts of this manuscript. She opened my eyes to many historical and theoretical points that I had missed, although I am sure some ideological myopia remains.
Practically and personally speaking, this book could not have been completed were it not for the patient support of my wife, Veronica and my sons, Jonathan David and Gregory Matthew. Anything I have done or will do is richer because they are in my life.