What Makes a “Tradition?”

Let me begin this by telling you a story. A story that will bring some of African's and my own frustrations around this issue to light. I sat excited for the new semester in the incredibly cold and overconditioned classroom. The people around me were chattering incessantly but I was tuning them out. I was … Continue reading What Makes a “Tradition?”

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Is Oral Important? The Struggle of Working in Precolonial Studies

Oral history straddles a line that all history does: the modern interpretation of the past and the bias and inaccuracies this conflict can produce. Even written history's interpretations and conclusions are effected by the period it was written. This is why primary sources are coveted. You can never get closer to understanding what people were … Continue reading Is Oral Important? The Struggle of Working in Precolonial Studies

Listen, Always Listen: Female Circumcision

Many people do not understand the difference between listening to someone's perspective and obeying.  When people cease to feel remotely heard they usually cry out "listen" and those who are already ignoring them think it means "obey me, submit, everything I say is right." That is not what listen means. In fact, I just looked it up to … Continue reading Listen, Always Listen: Female Circumcision

We Would Not Be Capable

When atrocities occur our gut reaction is to wonder why and how. I have broadly answered the why of the Rwandan genocide. On the International Day of Reflection for the Rwandan genocide I want to go deeper. How can average people commit violence on such a large scale? How could the Hutu Power movement kill, … Continue reading We Would Not Be Capable

Signare Griotte and the Power of Voice

Voice is the "essence of being." (Mosto) Voice enables us to powerfully affect people. Voice enables society, it is the root of our understanding. Language is shaped by how we view the world and we are shaped by how language creates the realities around us. Thus, voice can be dangerous. Voice can be miraculous. In Senegambia … Continue reading Signare Griotte and the Power of Voice