Storytelling: Reflecting on Oral Narratives and Cultures
"Storytelling: Reflecting on Oral Narratives and Cultures" is an anthology that focuses on how people share cultural ideals through traditional folktales. The selected readings emphasize the idea that the practice of face-to-face oral narrative strengthens cultural beliefs, attitudes, and values.While modern society provides a staggering number of opportunities to gather information, face-to-face storytelling still has much to offer. It can convey many levels of meaning not available in databases. It contributes to social cohesion, provides ways of understanding the past, and offers the opportunity for a shared experience with others. In addition, the book opens a window on diversity by incorporating concepts such as cultural identity, individualism and collectivism, stratification, stereotyping, and others.The introduction to "Storytelling" discusses how stories began, and contrasts oral, literary and electronic traditions. The twelve chapters in the book address the meaning of culture, the purpose of story, the role of characters, and the relationship between storyteller and audience. The book also covers universal themes in storytelling, themes that transcend both culture and time and strike a chord in everyone. These themes include love, jealousy, conceptions of virtue, youth and innocence, and age and wisdom. Attention is given to the role storytelling plays in illness and health, covered in a chapter on healers such as doctors, priests, and shamans.Some featured stories are ancient, such as the tale of the Golem. Others speak to us with the voices of contemporary societies facing contemporary issues, as seen in John Outruns the Lord and an examination of racism. The stories invite the reader to travel the world, sharing in the tales of many countries and civilizations."Storytelling: Reflecting on Oral Narratives and Cultures" leads readers to a deeper understanding of the critical role played by the narrative tradition over the course of generations. It brings forth stories from past and present, from near and far to demonstrate their power to teach, to heal, to unify, and to empower.
Anne Goding teaches "Storytelling & Culture" as a diversity course at SUNY New Paltz. She created the course from her academic background in Intercultural Communication studies and her personal background that put her in frequent contact with traditional storytellers, especially from Native American traditions. Anne earned her MSC in Intercultural Communication at Eastern Washington University, and is the co-author of "Stand Up, Speak Out: The Practice and Ethics of Public Speaking." Her work has also been published in the "International Journal of Communication."
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