LIT 221: East African Oral Literature


Course Outline


This course is an introduction to the principle elements of oral literature. A comparison between written and oral literature as well as the development of the discipline in East Africa and the rest of the world. A consideration of the main genres of oral literature with examples from various anthologies and collections. Basic techniques of data collection in fieldwork and recording. The relationship between oral and written literature in East African writing e.g. the work of Grace Ogot, Okot p’ Bitek, Taban Lo Liyong, Ngugi waThiong’o and Okoiti Omtatah. A discussion of oral literature scholarship in East Africa, including the work of Anyumba, Taban Lo Liyong, Okotp’Bitek, Amuka, Bole Odaga, WanjikuKabira, Kipury, Chesaina, Nandwa and Bukenya among others.        



Course Texts /References

Immaculate N. Kizza 2010: The Oral Tradition of the Baganda. Jefferson. McFarland

Gerhad Kubik 2009: Recording and Classification of Oral Literature in Tanzania and Some Other Parts of Africa.Dares Salaam. Goethe Institute

Jane Nandwa and OkothOkombo   1992: Reflections on Theory and Research Methods in Oral Literature.

Nairobi. KOLA

Samuel OluochImbo 2002: Oral Traditions as Philosophy: Okotp’Bitek’s Legacy for African Philosophy.Lanham.Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.

Okotp’Bitek 1986: Artist the Ruler: Essays on Art, Culture and Values. Nairobi. Heinemann




Course Outline

The nature and function of theory in oral literature.The relationship between data collection, analysis and theory building in the study of oral literature.The relationship between critical theory and the study of oral literature.A historical overview of theorizing in oral literature. Classification of theories of oral literature: diachronic (cultural evolution, cultural diffusion, psychoanalysis, Marxism), synchronic (functionalism, structural functionalism, formalism, structuralism) and synchro-diachronic (symbolic interaction, deconstruction, discourse) approaches. Specific tenets of each theory, limitations, strengths and contributions. Application of theory to texts and a comparative analysis.Contribution of theory to the understanding of oral literature in Africa.


Course Texts /References

G.  Feinemann and L. Manzanilla   2000: Cultural Evolution: Contemporary Viewpoints. New York. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers

F. Boas & G W Stocking Jr 1982: A Franz Boas Reader: The Shaping of American Anthropology 1883-1911. Chicago. Chicago University Press.

Max Gluckmann 2006 (Edition): Politics, Law and Ritual in Tribal Society. Aldine Transaction

Vladimir Propp 2009 (Edition): The Morphology of the Folktale. Austin. The University of Texas Press

Claude Levi-Strauss 1974: Myth and Meaning: Cracking the Code of Culture. New York. Basic Books

Victor Turner 2001 (Edition): From Ritual to Theatre: The Human Seriousness of Play. PAJ Publications

Karin Barber 1991: I Could Speak Until Tomorrow: Oriki, Women and the Past in a Yoruba Town.Edinburgh. Edinburgh University Press

LR Vail & L White 1991: Power and the Praise Poem: Southern African Voices in History. Charlottesville. University of Virginia Press

D Pollock & J D Hall 2005: Remembering: Oral History Performance. New York. Palgrave. MacMillan


LIT 311: Stylistics


Course Outline



The concept of style in literature; development of stylistics from studies in rhetoric in the classical and neoclassical period to practical criticism and the new criticism in the 20th Century; the contribution of modern linguistics to literary studies (the work of Ferdinand de Saussure, the Russian Formalists, structuralists, Chomsky); the growth of modern literary stylistics; paradigmatic and syntagmatic relations in literary language. Approaches by Riffaterre, Spitzer, Lodge, shklovsky, and Jakobson.Strategies of style - foregrounding and deviation. Practical application through textual analysis.


Course Texts /References

Raymond Chapman 1973: Linguistics and Literature: An Introduction to Literary Stylistics. Lanham. Rowman and Littlefield Pub Inc

G. Leech & M. Short 2007: Style in Fiction: A Linguistic Introduction to English Fictional Prose. Charlotsville. Pearson ESL

Michael Toolam  1998: Language in Literature: An Introduction to Stylistics. Philadelphia.Trans-Atlantic Publications Inc.

P. Stockwell& M. Lombra 2010: Contemporary Stylistics. New York. Continuum

Katie Wales 1992: A Dictionary of Stylistics. London. Longman Publishing Group



Human geography