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World Literature: Sundiata - An Epic of Old Mali

Stephanie Carta, B.Sc.
Average rating:4.6Number of reviews:(46)
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.

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.     
Please purchase a copy of Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali by D.T. Niane. 

In addition to the Outschool classroom, this class uses:
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 JSTOR.com 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). 
Average rating:4.6Number of reviews:(46)
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... 
Group Class


for 4 classes
1x per week, 4 weeks
55 min

Completed by 2 learners
Live video meetings
Ages: 12-16
3-10 learners per class

This class is no longer offered
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