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Oral tradition : a study in historical methodology

Author: Jan Vansina
Publisher: London : Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2017.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"Oral traditions are historical sources of a special nature. Their special nature derives from the fact that they are "unwritten" sources couched in a form suitable for oral transmission, and that their preservation depends on the powers of memory of successive generations of human beings. In many parts of the world inhabited by peoples without writing, oral tradition forms the main available source for a  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Electronic books
Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Jan Vansina
ISBN: 9781315125855 1315125854
OCLC Number: 1003855452
Description: 1 online resource
Contents: Chapter 1 AIMS AND PLAN OF THE WORK --
chapter 2 THE RELATION OF ORAL TRADITION TO WRITTEN HISTORY --
chapter 3 THE TREATMENT OF ORAL TRADITION IN ETHNOLOGICAL LITERATURE --
chapter 1 DEFINITION AND CHARACTERISTICS --
chapter 2 THE VERBAL TESTIMONY OF THE CHAIN OF TRANSMISSION --
chapter 3 THE METHOD OF TRANSMISSION IN ORAL TRADITION --
chapter 4 DISTORTIONS DUE TO TRANSMISSION page --
chapter 1 CHARACTERISTIC FEATURES OF A TESTIMONY --
chapter 2 THE STRUCTURE OF THE TESTIMONY --
chapter 3 THE MEANING OF THE TESTIMONY --
part IV THE TESTIMONY AS A MIRAGE OF REALITY --
chapter 1 THE SOCIAL SIGNIFICANCE OF A TESTIMONY --
chapter 2 CULTURAL VALUES AND THE TESTIMONY --
chapter 3 THE PERSONALITY OF THE INFORMANT AND THE TESTIMONY --
chapter 1 THE ORIGIN OF TESTIMONIES --
chapter 2 COMPARISON OF TESTIMONIES --
part VI HISTORICAL KNOWLEDGE --
chapter 1 TYPES OF TRADITIONS AND THEIR CHARACTERISTICS AS HISTORICAL SOURCES --
chapter 2 HOW TRADITIONS ARE BIASED --
chapter 3 THE CONTRIBUTION OF AUXILIARY DISCIPLINES --
chapter VII THE INTERPRETATION OF HISTORY --
part APPENDIX: IN SEARCH OF ORAL TRADITIONS --
chapter 1 Getting to know the environment --
chapter 2 The search for informants --
chapter 3 The systematic collection of sources --
chapter 4 How to record one's sources --
chapter 5 Summary.
Other Titles: De la tradition orale.
Responsibility: Jan Vansina ; translated from the French by H.M. Wright ; with a new preface by the author and a new introduction by Selma Leydesdorff and Elizabeth Tonkin.

Abstract:

"Oral traditions are historical sources of a special nature. Their special nature derives from the fact that they are "unwritten" sources couched in a form suitable for oral transmission, and that their preservation depends on the powers of memory of successive generations of human beings. In many parts of the world inhabited by peoples without writing, oral tradition forms the main available source for a reconstruction of the past. Do the special characteristics of oral traditions u "unwritten" information dependent on the memory of successive generations u invalidate them as sources of historical data? If not, are there means for testing their reliability? Professor Vansina shows in Oral Tradition that with knowledge of the language and of the society, the anthropologist and historian can extract or deduce the historical content of oral testimonies. Based on the author's many years of fieldwork in Africa, this definitive work explores the possibility of reconstructing the history of non-literate peoples from their oral traditions, surveys existing literature, offers a typology of oral traditions, and evaluates methods of collection and interpretation. On first publication, Daniel McCall in the American Anthropologist called Oral Tradition "a tour de force". Indeed this may well be the most significant work written on the relation of oral tradition to history in thirty yearsafor any field worker who intends to collect oral traditions, this work is indispensable."--Provided by publisher.

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