The Art of Mythical Composition and Narration: Dagara White Bagr

The Art of Mythical Composition and Narration: Dagara White Bagr

by Alexis B. Tengan


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Throughout history, oral cultures lacking the medium of writing have relied on secret cults and societies to keep the authoritative versions of their sacred compositions, originally passed on to them as myths of divine origins, alive and remembered.
In this book, the author, after many years spent observing secret rites, presents different versions of the White Bagr mythical narrative, following the ritual calendar. These rites, which are found among the Dagara/Lobi societies in West Africa, form a crucial part of the year-long rites of initiation of selected neophytes into bagr society.
In addition to giving a detailed ethnographic description of this society, its initiation rites and a bilingual version of their mythical narrations, the author seeks to explain how memory is constructed, retained and transmitted in orature, and what it takes to give a proper oration, without errors, slips of the tongue and deviation, as well as examining how the performance is critically received by bagr society and the Dagara people.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9789052018669
Publisher: Lang, Peter Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date: 06/30/2012
Series: Pensee et perspectives africaines - African Thought and Perspectives Series , #6
Pages: 317
Product dimensions: 5.91(w) x 8.66(h) x 0.02(d)

About the Author

Alexis B. Tengan works as an independent scholar and as a teacher at St John’s International School near Brussels. For many years he has been an academic associate at the Catholic University of Louvain, where he monitors a seminar within a Master’s program on cultures and development. Recently he has widened his research to include the relationship between art, medicine and religion in Africa, and has been collecting data and artworks with the intention of creating an ethnographic museum in Ghana.

Table of Contents

Contents: Narrative creation, ritual art performance and memory documentation – Schematic structures in mythical oration – Coding and decoding nature and culture – Knowing as relationships.

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