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 [...]

Advertisements

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 [...]

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 [...]

Accepted “Fact” versus Real Heroes

I fell for it. I will be the first to admit I fell for Hotel Rwanda hook line and sinker. I watched it in high school and ate it up. I was right there with the rest of the world in my respect and reverence for the bravery portrayed particularly by "Rwanda's Schindler," Paul Rusesabagina. [...]

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 [...]