Folklore | Talk Tales & Television in Africa
F420 | 2416 | Stoeltje


Stories are as important today in Africa in television as they have
ever been in African societies.  Other important communication forms
in Africa include special ways of speaking in the courts of chiefs
and queenmothers, for example. Many forms of narrative, including
traditional tales that feature trickster figures as well as
narratives of personal experience, are frequently used, in courts as
well as in social life.  Music (both traditional and modern popular),
is an important form of political communication as well as an
entertainment form.  A wide variety of films, both feature films and
documentaries, have become popular in all African cities.  The most
contemporary form of communication is television and even more
recently are popular videos, especially in Ghana where people are
making their own videos and circulating them, causing considerable
controversy.  This course will consider  these various forms as well
as a few others, including dress.  We will see films and videos
representing these various forms of communication, and we will have
guest speakers who will speak on contemporary communication such as
cartoons in South Africa and Ghanaian videos.  The emphasis in the
course is on the multiple layers of communication available at any
given time to make commentary on contemporary social and political
life as well as to communicate effectively in a wide variety of
social settings.  Although the course considers these various forms
in many parts of Africa, we will concentrate on Ghana and South
Africa.

Students will write several  short essays on the materials we
consider and will take several short exams.

Fulfills a COAS Arts and Humanities, Traditions and Ideas
distribution requirement.