Although African myths and folktales have long been trivialized as childish, translators today are revealing new insights, which show that Africa led the world in the invention of the most sophisticated literary styles. Critics now particularly value the figurality, or use of metaphor, which dominates the African literary imagination. The ethics and politics of translating African oral literature, or folklore, are a microcosm of ethical and political problems around the world. Populations of the Indian Ocean islands, almost unknown in the English speaking world, are loyal to the traditions they inherited from their slave ancestors, thus attesting to the power of the African imagination, but they rely on those traditions to help them negotiate the flow of money, imagery, and music, which we call globalization. This talk advocates for clearer understanding of such remote cultures. Speaker Biography: Lee Haring is professor emeritus of English at Brooklyn College. He conducted folklore research for thirty years in the islands of the Southwest Indian Ocean: Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Reunion, and the Comoros. His most recent book is a collection of the region's folktales, titled "Stars and Keys."
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