Course Name: Oral Literature Course Code: lit 2202 Credit Unit

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Course Name: Oral Literature


Course Code: LIT 2202

Credit Unit: 3

Course Description

Oral literature is quite often studied as one of the genres of Literature. Elsewhere it may be studied as one of the fields of folkloristics, that is, the study of folklore. Still to others, oral literature is a discipline and has many different genres. This course will examine genre as an organising frame of performance, study, classification and analysis of oral literature. This is done with the aim of enabling students to analyse genre as a universal and as a culture-specific concept. By invoking notions of performance, the course will highlight how performance shapes our understanding of genres. To study Oral Literature with a focus on genre calls attention to theories of oral literature in the last two centuries. Furthermore, the course will also attempt to relate the study of Oral Literature to contemporary issues in society.


Course Objectives

  1. To introduce learners to both fundamental and contemporary theories of oral literature.

  2. To enable learners relate oral literature scholarship to contemporary realities and issues.

  3. To equip learners with skills for critical analysis of oral literature genres in performance.


Detailed Course Curriculum

  • What is Oral Literature?

  • Why study Oral Literature?

  • Oral Literature and society, functions of Oral Literature

  • Fieldwork in Oral Literature

  • Genres of Oral Literature

  • Oral Narratives: Common categories
  • Myth, legend, fable, etiological narratives, ogre/monster stories, trickster stories, human tales, etc


  • Rendition of Narratives

  • Studying Oral Narratives

  • Social functions of narratives

  • Oral Poetry

  • Categories and Classification of Oral Poetry

  • Features of Oral Poetry

  • Performance of Oral Poetry

  • Functions of Oral Poetry

  • Studying an Oral Poem

  • Short Forms/Brief Genres

  • The Proverb

  • Definition

  • Classification of Proverbs

  • Rendition/Performance of the proverb

  • Functions of the proverb

  • Studying the proverb

  • Riddles/Puzzles

  • Definitions

  • Classification of Riddles/Puzzles

  • Performance of Riddles

  • Value of riddles

  • Studying a riddle


Expected Outcome

By the end of the course the learner should:



  1. be able to know fundamental and contemporary theories of oral literature.

  2. be able to relate oral literature scholarship to contemporary realities and issues.

  3. be well acquainted with the various skills for critical analysis of oral literature genres in performance.


Mode of Delivery

  • Lectures

  • Group Discussions

  • Tutorials


Mode of Assessment

  • Course work and oral presentations will constitute 30%
  • Final Examination will constitute 70%



References

  1. Finnegan, R. 1970. Oral Literature in Africa, Oxford University Press, Nairobi

  2. 1970. Oral Traditions and the Verbal Arts, Routledge, London and New York

  3. Bukenya A. & Gachanja. 1996. Oral Literature: A Junior Course, Longhorn, Nairobi

  4. Sunkuli L. O & Miruka O. 1990. A Dictionary of Oral Literature, East African Publishing House, Nairobi

  5. Okpewho I. 1992. African Oral Literature, Indiana University Press, Bloomington and Indianapolis







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