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World Literature: Sundiata - An Epic of Old Mali

In this 4-week course, students will read Sudiata in its entirety, critically review the text, learn about its heritage as world literature with origins in oral traditions, learn how the author created a tale of historical fiction.
Stephanie Carta, B.Sc.
46 total reviews for this teacher
1 review for this class
Completed by 2 learners
  There are no upcoming classes.
55 minutes
per class
Once per week
over 4 weeks
year olds
learners per class
per learner - per class

How does a "Multi-Day" course work?

Meets multiple times at scheduled times
Live video chats, recorded and monitored for safety and quality
Discussions via classroom forum and private messages with the teacher
Great for engaging projects and interacting with diverse classmates from other states and countries

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Class Experience

Students will learn about the genre of epics in the literary tradition and how this example of West African literature conforms to that archetype in a culturally particular way. They'll see the complexities of point of view in literature and the role of a griot as a narrator/storyteller. They'll learn about pre-colonial African conceptions of government and the governed, and how territory was organized before modern post-colonial nation states. In short, the lessons combines both literary understanding and social studies. 
I have eight years of formal teaching experience in secondary English and Social Studies. For Sundiata in particular, I've studied the text for 25 years. I hold a B.S. in political science from Suffolk University, and my coursework included extensive training in world literature from historical and political perspectives, including analysis of the canonical literature of Africa, Europe, and the Americas, both traditional and contemporary. In the field, I conducted cross-cultural empirical and ethnographic studies of political conflict in Ireland and South Africa and published my work in thesis form for credit.     
Students will read the text and write their essay outside of class. The text is under 100 pages, to be read over the course of four weeks.  
Please purchase a copy of Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali by D.T. Niane.
In addition to the Outschool classroom, this class uses:
I will act as editor for their essays, giving students a chance to write for a real audience and think about writing as a continual process and practice, not merely a finished product. They may have to go through a drafting process, revising their own work based on my feedback. 
55 minutes per week in class, and an estimated 1 - 2 hours per week outside of class.
This mini-course is a part of my semester-long Advanced Literature course, which is the evivalent of Advanced Placement, IB, or the UK's A-levels. Therefore, there is no censorship of language or themes because students need to be knowledgable about the literature as written. I have extensive coursework and training in African and Pan-African literature and society, studying and working with both Pan-Africanists in the United States and scholars in Africa.  

Major themes in Sundiata concern political power, military violence, physical disability, the question of women's agency (which is sometimes honored, sometimes violated), the traditional beliefs of West African peoples (including "witchcraft") and the practice of Islam. There is no rude language or overly graphic descriptions of violence. It's not a difficult text but very rhetorical. 

D.T. Niane's translation was written for a popular audience, is accessible to a wide age range, and mature upper-level middle school students are welcome. 
All of my source material comes from scholarly writing (on and elsewhere), my own critical examination of the text, interpretations by actors and musicians, and UNESCO's World Heritage site. Connections to West African art and archaeology will come from the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York (The Met). 


Stephanie Carta, B.Sc.
Lives in the United States
College Prep. Courses in Literature and Social Studies
46 total reviews
79 completed classes

About Me

Hi students! I'm Ms. Stephanie Carta. My teaching career began in 2012. I previously taught at a private school that emphasized small group learning. Whether in-person or online, I'm committed to teaching courses that emphasize academic skills... 
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