Date of this Version
Folklore in the Modern World
The introduction of literacy into African societies has added writing and printing as dimensions to the communication of historical knowledge. A by-product of this development is the availability of new information sources for historical-folkloristic research, namely, the works of local historians. In most cases these appear in thin pamphlets, published by local printers, and circulate among a local educated public; occasionally, their reading audience extends beyond the boundaries of the original indigenous community and reaches university historians, who treat these publications as if they were primary sources for historical reconstruction. They are thought to reflect the common view of the past that prevails in a given culture. They represent the folk history of the people or, if the term is used in a fashion that parallels the concept of "ethnoscience" (Sturtevant 1968: 462-464), their ethnohistory. Hence, the attribute of primacy relates to ideas about history and does not indicate the nature of the testimony.
© 1978 Mouton-DeGruyter Publishers.
Ben-Amos, D. (1978). The Modern Local Historian in Africa. In Dorson, R.M. (Ed.), Folklore in the Modern World, (pp. 327-343). The Hague: Mouton.
Date Posted: 22 September 2017