Additional information for African 210: The African Storyteller

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Summer Workload Expectations

This 4-week summer course is equivalent to a 14-week regular semester course. The content is “accelerated” and the daily workload is much greater than it would be for regular semester courses.

You should expect to spend around 35-36 hours per week on this course — nearly as much as a full-time job. You might choose to put in about 7 or 8 hours each day or, because this is a semi-synchronous online course, you might put in more one day and less another. We hope some flexibility will accommodate your summer schedule.


Structure of the Course

This course is designed to be semi-synchronous, meaning that all students will proceed through the course at approximately the same pace, though you will have plenty of opportunity for flexibility within the structured pace we have designed.

Offline Reading

The heart of this course consists of reading literature (though much of it may be a kind of literature–oral storytelling–that you’ve never read before). You will read the stories compiled in The African Storyteller textbook, as well as three short African novels. See the Reading Schedule below.

Online Reading and Videos

In place of face-to-face lectures, this online course includes several pages of online text and videos — mostly from Harold Schueb, recorded before he retired. As we step though the course, page-by-page, we will read short introductions to Scheub’s methods of literary analysis, and watch him discuss several stories. These videos, perhaps more than anything else, are what make this course unique.


Small Assignments

We will do more than just read, however; we will think and write about the stories we read. A set of low-stakes assignments each week will ensure that you keep up with the reading and generate your own critical analysis. These assignments include:


After completing each of the chapters in Scheub’s textbook, you will be quizzed over the material. These “check-in” quizzes, 10-20 questions long, are designed to help you accumulate points for doing the basic work of the course. If you read, you should ace the quizzes.

Posting Forums

Each week, you’ll be prompted to make a post to a course-wide forum. You’ll post your initial ideas about the connections that you see between the stories you have been reading. Posting forums are designed to be informal spaces for sharing ideas. As such, you can be creative and experimental.

Large Assignments


At the end of each week, you will be prompted to compose an essay, approximately 700-1000 words long. In your essay, you will argue that a selection of stories from that week belong together as a coherent section of a larger anthology of African storytelling. You will compile your Weeks 1-3 essays and story selections during Week 4.

Anthology of African Storytelling

The final project in this course (there will be no final exam) is a creative analytical project in which you will design your own anthology of African storytelling. The work will proceed in steps and you will compile everything during the final days of the four-week session. You will generate a title for your anthology and select the stories that are collected in it. Most importantly, you will write critical introductions – one for the overall anthology (during Week 4), and one for each of three sections within it. You will assemble your three sections, and the critical introductory essays, during Weeks 1-3. You will assemble the full anthology, write the overall introduction, and revise your three sections during Week 4.

Reading Schedule

(Note the page numbers next to each reading. Many of the stories are very short.)

Week 1

* “The Language of Storytelling,” p. 2-3

* “The Unborn Child” p. 4-7

* “Salamone the Orphan,” p. 8-10

* “The Head of a Masai Woman,” p. 11-13

* “The Python’s Shining Stone,” p. 14-18

* “Notes on the Rites of Passage,” p. 20-21

* “The Two Brothers,” p. 22-28

* “The Two Hammadis,” p. 29-38

* “Lion-Child and Cow-Child,” p. 39-44

* “The Romance of the Fox,” p. 45-55

* “Mrile,” p. 56-62

* “A Walk in the Night,” Chapters 1-8

* “A Walk in the Night,” Chapters 9-13

* “A Walk in the Night,” Chapters 14-19

Week 2

* “Notes on Myth,” p. 64-65

* “The Parting of the Waters,” p. 66-68

* “Mantis Creates an Eland,” p. 69-72

* “God Creates Man and Woman,” p. 73-74

* “Isis and Orisis,” p. 75-79

* “How Death Came Into the World: Five Myths,” p. 80-84

* “The Creation,” p. 85-91

* “Notes on the Trickster,” p. 94-96

* “Abunawas and the Goat’s Horns,” p. 97-98

* “Beiho Ticks His Uncles,” p. 99-102

* “Two Tar Baby Stories,” p. 103-109

* “Turning the Tables on Trickster,” p. 108-109

* “Mohammed with the Magic Finger,” p. 110-121

* “The Magic Drum,” p. 122-127

* Woman at Point Zero, from “Author’s Preface” to the phrase “The following morning…” (on or about p. 40)

* Woman at Point Zero, from “The following morning…” (p. 40) to the phrase “Nothing in the world… (on or about p. 78)

* Woman at Point Zero, from “Nothing in the world…” (p. 78) to the end of the novel

Week 3

* “Notes on the Hero,” p. 130-132

* “Sudika-mbambi,” p. 133-141

* “Ibonia,” p. 142-147

* “Nyikang and the Sun,” p. 148-151

* “Liongo,” p. 152-156

* Things Fall Apart, Chapters 1-7

* Things Fall Apart, Chapters 7-13

* Things Fall Apart, Chapters 14-19

* Things Fall Apart, Chapters 20-25

Week 4

* “Notes on Rites of Passage and Gender,” p. 158-159

* “The Pregnant Boy,” p. 160-164

* “The Girl with One Hand,” p. 165-171

* “The Girl without Legs,” p. 172-173

* “Thakane and Her Father,” p. 174-180

* “Umxakaza-wakogingqwayo,” p. 181-195

* “Ngomba’s Basket,” p. 196-199

* “Ramaitsoanala,” p. 200-204

* “Yarima, Atafa, and the King,” p. 205-212