Partial Connections of an African Oral Tradition as History

Mustafa  Kemal Mirzeler (Western Michigan University)

This paper examines Africanist historians’ use of oral tradition as history in reconstructing Africa’s past in the 1960s and 1970s. Working within the tropes of the early anthropological models of agnatic principles and segmentary processes, Africanist historians, interpreted oral traditions for their historical messages in order to construct Africa’s past. However, given the great variety of oral forms and the differing ways that oral composition can take place, the historicity of oral tradition is positioned and it is based on “partial truths.”

Part of 24-06 Tracing Verbal Traditions, Tuesday, October 19, 2:15 pm–3:45 pm