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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The anthropology of transcultural storytelling: 'Oui mon commandant!' and Amadou Hampâté Bâ's ethnographic didacticism
Author:Izzo, JustinISNI
Periodical:Research in African Literatures (ISSN 0034-5210)
Geographic term:Mali
colonial administration
traditional society
About person:Amadou Hampaté Bâ (1900-1991)ISNI
Abstract:This article examines the relationship between literary virtuosity and ethnographic exposition in 'Oui mon commandant!', the second volume of memoirs by Malian writer and anthropologist Amadou Hampâté Bâ. In this memoir, Hampâté Bâ recounts his early career as a colonial civil servant before beginning professional training in anthropology. He offers an in-depth ethnographic look at the political universe of French colonial bureaucracy while inserting carefully honed stories and vignettes designed to instruct non-African readers about 'traditional' African cultures and about everyday life under colonial rule. The author of this article calls this narrative strategy 'ethnographic didacticism' and argues that it allows Hampâté Bâ to connect his prowess as a storyteller to a broader anthropological knowledge project while reimagining the African autobiography as a cross-disciplinary palimpsest. Further, the author suggests that Oui mon commandant!'s ethnographic didacticism provokes us to reimagine anthropology and cosmopolitanism as narratives of modernity with African genealogies. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]