In Search of Sunjata : The Mande Oral Epic as History, Literature, and Performance

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2000-01-01
  • Publisher: Indiana Univ Pr
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The Sunjata epic, which celebrates the founder of the 13th century Mali empire, is the most famous African epic. The pathbreaking essays by well known scholars in this watershed volume examine Sunjata from a variety of perspectives.

Author Biography

Ralph A. Austen is Professor of African History, co-chair of the Committee on African and African American Studies, and chair of the Committee on International Relations at the University of Chicago.

Table of Contents

Editors' Introductionp. 1
The Epic and Its Setting
"The Dichotomy of Power and Authority in Mande Society and in the Epic of Sunjata."p. 9
History, One: Content and Genesis of the Core Epic
"The History of the Sunjata Epic: A Review of the Evidence."p. 25
"The Epic of Sunjata: Structure, Preservation and Transmission."p. 59
"The Historical Transformation of Genres: Sunjata as Panegyric, Folktale, Epic, and Novel."p. 69
History, Two: Sunjata in the Oral Traditions of the Broader West African World
"Sinimogo, 'Man for Tomorrow': Sunjata on the Fringes of the Mande World."p. 89
"Searching for the Historical Ancestor: The Paradigm of Sunjata in Oral Traditions of the Sahel (13th-19th Centuries)."p. 111
"The Gesete of Borgu: A Neglected Type of Manding Diaspora."p. 141
"Jeli and Sere: The Dialectics of the Word in the Manden."p. 171
"Mooning Armies and Mothering Heroes: Female Power in the Mande Epic Tradition."p. 189
"Sunjata as Written Literature: The Role of the Literary Mediator in the Dissemination of the Sunjata Epic."p. 231
"Butchering Heroism?: Sunjata and the Negotiation of Postcolonial Mande Identity in Diabate's Le Boucher de Kouta."p. 253
"The Production and Reproduction of Sunjata."p. 275
"An Ethnography of the Epic of Sunjata in Kela."p. 297
"Out of Print: The Epic Cassette as Intervention, Reinvention, and Commodity."p. 313
General Bibliographyp. 329
Contributorsp. 339
Indexp. 341
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