New Book, Speaking to Reconciliation: Voices of Faith Addressing Racial and Cultural Divides, by John Hatch

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Speaking to Reconciliation: Voices of Faith Addressing Racial and Cultural Divides (Peter Lang Publishing, 2020)

By John B. Hatch, Ph.D.
Chair, Professor of Communication Studies, Eastern University

Peter Lang’s Speaking of Religion series (edited by Daniel S. Brown) announces the publication of its second anthology of speeches addressing a selected public issue from religious perspectives. Compiled and authored by John Hatch, this book is suitable not only for undergraduate courses in rhetoric, peacebuilding, race, and/or culture, but also for graduate students and scholars interested in reconciliation and religious discourse in the public square.

In North America, Africa, and across the globe, many societies are deeply divided along racial, ethnic, political, or religious lines as a result of violent/oppressive histories. Bridging such divides requires symbolic action that transcends, reframes, redeems, and repairs—often drawing upon resources of faith. Speaking to Reconciliation showcases this tradition through speeches by Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Elie Wiesel, Desmond Tutu, Barack Obama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Jordan’s King Abdullah II, Ireland’s President Mary McAleese, and others. Some of these speeches set forth principles or spiritual practices of reconciliation. Others acknowledge injustice, make apologies for historical wrongs, call for reparations, or commend the power of forgiveness. Speaking to Reconciliation presents a conceptual framework for doing analysis and critique of reconciliation discourse and applies this framework in introductions to the speeches, offering readers a springboard for further study and, potentially, inspiration to promote justice and reconciliation in their own spheres.

Advanced praise for Speaking to Reconciliation:

“The importance of reconciliation in our world today cannot be overstated, yet the concept is frequently presented in confusing or vague terms. Not so in Speaking to Reconciliation. The speeches in this book, together with John B. Hatch’s insightful comments about them, bring reconciliation’s meanings in particular situations into sharp focus. What is more, Hatch’s commentary illuminates how the speeches―drawn from different contexts and diverse faith traditions―speak to one another in significant ways. Students and practitioners of reconciliation stand to benefit greatly from the rich, and even transformative, conversations in this book.” ―James E. Beitler, Associate Professor of English, Wheaton University

Speaking to Reconciliation is a masterful collection of speeches … Hatch provides both a theoretical rationale and powerful practical examples of how reconciliation might begin. This is a must-read book for all scholars of rhetoric and race.” ―Martin J. Medhurst, Distinguished Professor of Rhetoric and Communication, Baylor University

“John Hatch’s Speaking to Reconciliation will be a welcome addition to my undergraduate rhetoric curriculum. Distilling Kenneth Burke’s frames of acceptance and directing its focus on reconciliation rhetorics, this book can help students craft connections across the humanities―in communication, religion, and politics. If my undergraduates can imagine a just and peace-building discourse in this increasingly divisive civic sphere, they will have the skills to engage and improve our world. Hatch’s text skillfully provides both the theory and the practice for my students to understand that reconciliation.” ―Camille K. Lewis, Visiting Professor, Department of Communication Studies, Furman University

“Hatch’s heartfelt commitment to and insight on reconciliation shapes this collection of historical and contemporary public address into a tool for truth and justice … Feast on this book for true soul food and strength for the work of battling injustice.” ―Annalee Ward, Director, Wendt Character Initiative, University of Dubuque

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