Academic journal article The International Journal of African Historical Studies

The Politics of Storytelling: Violence, Transgression, and Intersubjectivity

Academic journal article The International Journal of African Historical Studies

The Politics of Storytelling: Violence, Transgression, and Intersubjectivity

Article excerpt

The Politics of Storytelling: Violence, Transgression, and Intersubjectivity. By Michael Jackson. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2002. Pp. 320. $49.00 paper.

As its title indicates, this book is neither about Africa nor history and thus of little direct interest to readers of IJAHS. However, Michael Jackson has previously produced some excellent ethnographic and folklore accounts of the Kuranko of Sierra Leone and, as indicated on the flap of the present work, is (or will be) inquiring into this community's reaction to the civil wars in their nation. The Politics of Storytelling addresses these issues briefly by linking Kuranko stories collected in the 1970s to issues of reconciliation and retribution in the recent conflict, which inflicted great suffering upon them. However, apart from the lack of immediate data, Jackson also recognizes that the underlying issues in postcolonial Sierra Leone are less interpersonal than social and perhaps Storytelling cannot deal with this kind of politics. To address and radically change "the grievous injustices and inequities of everyday life" he concludes "is a matter not of art but of action" (p. 167).

In another section Jackson elaborates on earlier observations he made about the versions of the Sunjata epic found among the Kuranko, a Mande group far from the core of the old Mali Empire in southern Mali and Northern Guinée. …

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