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Professor explores African storytelling traditions

Nov. 3, 2009

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University's Dr. Mustafa Mirzeler will discuss the oral storytelling traditions of northern Uganda in a free, public lecture at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5, in Room 3025 of Brown Hall.

During his talk, "Memories of Rivers and the Journey of the Gray Bull Engiro," Mirzeler will discuss oral storytelling traditions and the role of memory in the region of Najie in northern Uganda. He will focus on how storytellers and audiences remember the gray bull Engiro drinking the water of the Longiro River.

Mirzeler, an associate professor of English at WMU, teaches African storytelling, folklore and mythology, the oral tradition and the novel, Asian literature, postcolonial literature, travel writing, and Turkish literature in translation.

Born in southern Anatolia, Turkey, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. During his graduate studies in the 1990s, he traveled to Sub-Saharan East Africa and worked with African storytellers as a part of his doctoral research. There, he learned the art of storytelling from the African storytellers, poets and historians with whom he worked. He is now working on his own book, "African Storytellers: The Jie and Turkana Oral Tradition of Origin."

Mirzeler's Nov. 5 lecture is part of the Department of English's Scholarly Speaker Series.

2009 Department of English Scholarly Speaker Series
Remaining lectures

All events are free and open to the public.

  • Thursday, Nov. 12, 7 p.m.
    Room 2028, Brown Hall--Dr. John Willinsky, educator, activist and author at the School of Education, Stanford University, will discuss "What's the Fuss about Open Access to Scholarly Work?" at an event co-sponsored by WMU's University Libraries, College of Education and the Third Coast Writing Project.

  • Tuesday, Dec. 1, 7 p.m.
    Room 2028, Brown Hall--Poet and feminist Dr. Alicia Ostriker, professor emerita of the Department of English at Rutgers University, will speak at an event co-sponsored by WMU's Gwen Frostic Reading Series.

For more information, contact Dr. Anthony Ellis, assistant professor of English, at anthony.ellis@wmich.edu or (269) 387-2606.

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Media contact: Tonya Durlach, (269) 387-8400, tonya.durlach@wmich.edu

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