African Oral Tradition

Discipline: Special Topics in Literature
Instructor: Drame
Credits: 3
Day: A
Start: 1050
End: 1205
Field Work: Day 5 - Takoradi - 14 April | Ghana Download Syllabus

This course is a quick survey of Oral traditions as expressed in folktales, proverbs, poetry, myth, and epic stories. It will examine the use of Oral traditions as repositories of intangible cultural heritage and wisdom in the form of creative arts. Finally, the course will study Oral traditions as sources and manifestations of literature in contemporary society, as oraliture today. Love, beauty, war, faith, and other themes will be examined in terms of their literariness.

Field Work

Country: Ghana
Day: 5 - Takoradi - 14 April

Students will have the privilege of meeting the Queen Mothers in session and observing the proceedings of their assembly. They will have the opportunity of asking questions about the institution, its functions, and relations with other branches of traditional government. Students will be in a position to experience village life and culture. They will also attend a storytelling performance and engage the storyteller in a discussion of his/her art and views on oral tradition. Student may choose one of the events, describe and analyze it in relation to the subject of the course and the course material on African oral traditions. The five-page paper will be due two days later. Academic Objectives:

  1. To acquaint the students with an important traditional form of government: the institution of Queen Mothers in Ghana
  2. To give the students a chance to experience village life in Ghana.
  3. To give the students the experience of attending a live African oral storytelling in context.