University News

WIU African American Studies Professor Co-Authors Book

October 25, 2005

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MACOMB, IL - - Abdul-Rasheed Na’Allah, associate professor and chair of the African American Studies department at Western Illinois University, has co-authored the book “Introduction to African Oral Literature and Performance” with co-author Bayo Ogunjimi.

Ogunjimi, who died in 1996, was a professor of African oral literature and English at the University of Ilorin, Nigeria, where NaÂ’Allah obtained his undergraduate degree.

The book brings two earlier volumes by the authors together in a single cover. It was revised to meet the challenges of 21st century scholarship in African performance and cultural studies, NaÂ’Allah said. Topics covered in the book range from sources of African oral traditions, relevance of cosmology to African oral performances, fieldwork practice and research methodology, archetypes, folktales, myths and legends, performance and stylistic features to various areas of poetic performances like praise poetry, religious poetry, topical, occupational and heroic poetry.

The central theme of the book is performance. Students, scholars and readers are provided with projects and exercises intended to keep them involved in research and performance experience of the oral forms, NaÂ’Allah explained. Important information is provided to guide researchers into a continued experience in the study of and research into African oral traditions.

Materials are included from a number of languages and cultures of African including Aruba, Hausa and Nupe, among others.

Na’Allah has taught African performance, African and African Diaspora literature, folklore and comparative poetics in Nigeria, Canada and the U.S. He has also authored the books “Ogoni’s Agonies,” Almajiri,” “The People’s Poet: Emerging Perspectives on Niyi Osundare” and “Ahmadu Fulani.”

He received in Ph.D. from the University of Alberta, Canada and has been a faculty member at Western since 1998.

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