Course Offered: Spring 2017
This course is a survey of Africa's rich folkloric heritage. It explores the lore, recollections, epics, legends, myths, traditions, beliefs and tales of the continent of Africa, taking note of the diversity of experiences, their uniqueness in form and content as well as the affinities that are evident among them. The course will seek to reflect, among other things, the differing concepts of cosmogony, human creation and existence, and the social values that have motivated various African peoples in their pursuit of a meaningful life and an understanding of the spiritual and aesthetic attributes of the world around them. Conversely, it will demonstrate how the folkloric forms themselves have been woven out of the substance of human experiences: human struggles for survival, relations among humans, and between humans and animals; responses to the challenges to the unknown and to the universal need to create order and reason out of chaos and confusion. In addition to the required reading texts, the course will include films, slides, audio-tapes and musical materials that will enhance our understanding of the performance dimension of African folklore.
This course satisfies the SAS Core Curriculum Goals "Philosophical and Theoretical Issues" (AHo) and "Arts and Literatures" (AHp).