Time for the World to Learn from Africa

Time for the World to Learn from Africa

by Ruth Finnegan


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It is a common notion that Africa has, and indeed ought to have, learned much from the west. This is not wrong; all cultures rightly learn from each other. But less is said of what there is to learn from Africa: from her stories, myths, music, proverbs, insights – and more. Here an acclaimed African scholar steps into the gap by uncovering for us something of the great legacy of African thought and practice in ways that will astonish many. Written with verve and authority and directed above all to students and sixth formers, this book will also delight and often surprise those who know something of Africa as well as those hitherto ignorant.

Ruth Finnegan OBE FBA is Emeritus Professor The Open University, Foreign Associate of the Finnish Literature Bureau, and International Fellow of the American Folklore Society. An anthropologist and multi-award author, she has published extensively, chiefly on Africa, musical practice, and English urban life. Recent books include How is Language?, Fiji’s Music: Where Did It Come From?, her edited Entrancement: The Consciousness of Dreaming, Music and The World, and two prize-winning Africa-influenced novels Black Inked Pearl and Voyage of Pearl of the Seas.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781911221210
Publisher: Balestier Press
Publication date: 11/25/2018
Series: Hearing Others' Voices
Pages: 226
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.52(d)

About the Author

Ruth Finnegan FBA is an anthropologist and creative writer with interdisciplinary interests, especially in classical studies, literature, sociolinguistics, modes of thought, and cultural history. She is renowned as the scholar who has made a whole generation of Africanists realise the singular importance of oral literature. She is Emeritus and Research Professor at the Open University UK, a Fellow of the British Academy, and an Honorary Fellow of Somerville College Oxford.

Born in Derry, Northern Ireland in 1933, she studied classics at Oxford, followed by social anthropology, then fieldwork and university teaching in Africa.

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Time for the World to Learn from Africa 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For ages, people around the world have not taken any keen study on Africa to find out what the continent can offer the world. this book explains how wrong this notion is, providing clear information on how people have been bearing the wrong perception about Africa for a very long time now. Most people especially from the West believe that Africa has no history and this book proves that wrong, escribing different sectors that the continent is rich in, alongside with some lessons the world can take on Africa. The author of this book is Ruth Finnegan, was brought up in Ireland but spent some time in Sierra Leone, Africa. She explores different misconceptions about Africa and gives firsthand information basing on her stay in Africa.
ReadersFavorite2 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Gisela Dixon for Readers' Favorite Time for the World to Learn From Africa (Hearing Others' Voices) by Ruth Finnegan is a non-fiction book written on the ways, culture, and societies of Africa and what the rest of the world can learn from them. I have read other books by Ruth Finnegan and have always been impressed by her breadth of knowledge in her field. So I was excited to pick up this book and it did not disappoint. Ruth has sectioned the book under different but related topics that all have to do with the history and culture of Africa and the African people. This includes: a brief background and history of the continent, its multitude of languages and sub-cultures, music including instruments such as the drum, dance, proverbs, stories and fables, the women of the continent and their stories, children, the performing arts, and so much more. There is also a detailed list of references as well as suggestions for further reading at the end of the book. I loved reading Time for the World to Learn From Africa by Ruth Finnegan and found it entertaining as well as educational. One important thing that Ruth manages to convey is that Africa is not simply one entity or one continent with a common, homogeneous culture but instead it is diverse, multi-ethnic, and varied in its own right with a rich history dating back thousands of years. My favorite part of the book was the section on language and I enjoyed the various fables and short stories presented throughout the text that capture the essence of African culture. Ruth writes in an engaging, candid style that makes reading the book a breeze. This is definitely a must-read book.
ReadersFavorite1 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Donna Gielow McFarland for Readers' Favorite In Time for the World to Learn From Africa (Hearing Others' Voices), anthropologist and award-winning author Ruth Finnegan provides an in-depth, scholarly look at the cultural history of Africa, primarily in the fields of literature and the arts. Included is a thorough discussion of the tradition of literary oral history (much, much more than just “stories passed down”) and the necessity of considering all the aspects of storytelling including the performance of the storyteller and the response of the audience. Finnegan discusses some of the intricacies of African languages (some have 40 verb tenses!), praise names, how drums mimic the tonal aspects to the language in order to “talk” well enough to send information and specific messages, music, proverbs and much more. I have spent just a little time in Africa, but almost everything in Time for the World to Learn From Africa was new to me. Finnegan, on the other hand, has lived in Africa and studied the culture extensively. I found in her work a fascinating wealth of knowledge. Particularly interesting to me were her studies of the tonal nature of African languages and how those tones can be mimicked using drums. I also found her discussion of music very interesting. She talks about the difference between European classical music and the African whole body experience of music and dance, and then explains how the concept of “beat” in rock and jazz came straight from the music of Africa. Finnegan’s explanation of oral storytelling, which is heavily dependent on the storyteller and the audience, seemed to me to be not unlike the American tradition of telling ghost stories by a campfire. You can write the stories down, but that doesn’t do justice to how each storyteller tweaks the story, or that the whole point is to get the desired response from the audience. Other aspects of African literary culture shed some light on biblical Israelite traditions. I learned a great deal from Finnegan’s Time for the World to Learn From Africa. It is not a light read – it felt a little like reading a college textbook – but it is a valuable resource to broaden the reader’s understanding of the world. Highly recommended.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite Time for the World to Learn From Africa: Hearing Others’ Voices is a work of educational non-fiction intended for students and young people, penned by author and academic Ruth Finnegan. Taking a break from her scholarly work, Finnegan delves deep into the heritage, culture, art and beliefs of Africa to uncover and convey that which we, as Westernized society, could learn from opening our eyes and ears to another culture. In a reversal of the idea that the cultures of the east need to look west for improvement, it is now time that we look back over the language, lore, gender roles and insights of African culture in order to develop ourselves as more rounded people. I adored this book for its empowering presence, but also for the creative and educational possibilities it suggests. As an educator and creative practitioner myself, I really enjoyed the explanations of elements such as performance and music, how they are integral to the African culture and are valued in a different way than we see entertainment formats in the West. Linguistically, Ruth Finnegan’s sensitivity to the many languages and dialects of Africa is well explained and would be easily understood by her target age range of students aged sixteen and above. I think that opening others up to culture in such an academic and accessible way is of huge benefit to the target group, but Time for the World to Learn from Africa would also make an excellent addition to the shelves of all teachers who want to bring new perspectives into their classrooms.