Anthropology of Texts, Persons and Publics Oral and Written Culture in Africa and Beyond

ISBN-10: 0521546877
ISBN-13: 9780521546874
Edition: 2007
Authors: Karin Barber
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Description: What can texts - both written and oral - tell us about the societies that produce them? How are texts constituted in different cultures, and how do they shape societies and individuals? How can we understand the people who compose them? Drawing on  More...

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Book details

List price: $40.99
Copyright year: 2007
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 12/20/2007
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 288
Size: 5.75" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.990
Language: English

What can texts - both written and oral - tell us about the societies that produce them? How are texts constituted in different cultures, and how do they shape societies and individuals? How can we understand the people who compose them? Drawing on examples from Africa and other countries, this original study sets out to answer these questions, by exploring textuality from a variety of angles. Topics covered include the importance of gender, the ways in which oral genres transcend the here-and-now, and the complex relationship between texts and the material world. Barber considers the ways in which personhood is evoked, both in oral poetry and in written diaries and letters, discusses the audience's role in creating the meaning of texts, and shows textual creativity to be a universal human capacity expressed in myriad forms. Engaging and thought-provoking, this book will be welcomed by anyone interested in anthropology, literature and cultural studies.

Karin Barber is Professor of African Cultural Anthropology at the University of Birmingham. She is author of The Generation of Plays (IUP, 2000), which won the Herskovits Award, and editor of Readings in African Popular Culture (IUP, 1997).

Anthropology and text
Genre, society and history
The constitution of oral texts
Text and personhood
Audiences and publics
The private
Textual fields and popular creativity

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