Dorthy L. Pennington

Dorthy Pennington
  • Associate Professor
  • Communication Studies
  • African and African American Studies

Contact Info

Bailey Hall 102
1440 Jayhawk Boulevard
Lawrence, KS 66045


Dr. Pennington is a specialist on intercultural communication and African-American culture, the cultural discourse on trauma/terror and has taught courses on the Rhetoric of African Americans, the Black Woman, Black Male and Female Communications, among others.


While my research on the discourse of terror and trauma continues, I also maintain my line of research on African American discourse strategies and personae. My most recent journal article is on Barack Obama, constructing a comprehensive persona for him in spiritualist/theological terms. This article shows that Obama's ontological development follows a Christian-theology timeline from "disciple" to "apostle," and argues that Obama's presidential victory (ies) were based, in part, on his Biblical references, employing Pauline theology that had a broad resonance at a time when the country needed to derive a sense of hope. I continue to do research on Obama in terms of applicable leadership theories;

I taught a seminar on Obama during Spring, 2016-.

I am currently (2017) writing a book on interracial communication, focusing on communication between African Americans and white Americans.

An ancillary research area that I recently developed pertains to 'etic' and 'emic' in the pedagogy and andragogy of teaching cultural studies. I published a 2012 journal article on this topic.

Research interests:

  • Interracial/intercultural communication
  • Cultural rhetorics
  • The discourse of trauma and terror, vis-à-vis memory
  • African American regional church history and cultural roles