African Myths Of Origin Summary

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ANTH V1130 – Africa & The Anthropologist Literature Review 3 Tyler Gibbons Literature Review 3 Karin Barber’s The Anthropology Of Texts, Persons And Publics and Stephen Belcher’s African Myths Of Origin each explains in great detail the significance of myths and oral texts as a way of weaving society and its people together. Barber makes a claim that oral history is a better representation of a culture, where as Belcher places a heavy importance on differentiating myths and folktales and how they can be interpreted. What both of these texts represent are a departure from literature-centric stance of African anthropology, and focuses on the importance of oral tradition as a means of communicating the history of African culture. I will discuss and evaluate the context of oral tradition and myths through each author respectively and evaluate their approaches and broader arguments. Belcher’s “African Myths of Origin” is focused on explaining the great significance of myths and traditions in African culture – myths serve to both create and explain the past, and inform individuals about religious, spiritual and social traditions within their society. Furthermore, he touches on the two ways in which one can interpret the reading of African myths; namely that myths can been seen as contemporary versions of stories that have been diluted from their origins or that myths are stories that are change to meet the needs of the present believers. He states, “In traditional societies, the effort involved in preserving the past must be balanced against the cost and the effort involved, and against its practical value”(6). So while the teller attempts to be authentic and keep the story as similar to original, every teller will change the version... ... middle of paper ... ...ans of communicating the history of culture. They each raised questions in fairly broad theoretical framework-chapters beginning with a through and expansive introduction where the author poses various ways of tackling the given concepts. Karin Barber’s The Anthropology Of Texts, Persons And Publics and Stephen Belcher’s African Myths Of Origin each explains in great detail the significance of myths and oral texts as a way of weaving society and its people together, which helps provide the reader with a new perspective on the subject of African anthropology. Furthermore, by elaborating on the significance of myths and folktales of various African cultures, readers alike are able to gain a better understanding of the deep-rooted history. Work Cited Karin Barber, The Anthropology of Texts, Persons and Publics (2007). Stephen Belcher, African Myths of Origin (2005).
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