Episode 2: Dr. Karim Traore, Professor, University of Georgia

The African Sky Podcast (with host Adam Klein)
The African Sky Podcast (with host Adam Klein)
Episode 2: Dr. Karim Traore, Professor, University of Georgia


Dr. Karim Traore, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Associate Director of the African Studies Institute at the University of Georgia, discusses the epic of Sundiata, Mande caste system, the role of the griot, as well as various aspects of the hunters’ guild and hunters’ epics in modern society.

Produced by Adam Klein

Engineered by Lucas McAuliffe in Athens, GA

Edited by Seth Samuel

Original music from the album Dugu Wolo by Lassine Kouyate. 


Excerpts from Sidiki Diabaté and Dejlimady Sissoko performing the epic of Sundiata at the South Bank Centre in London, 1987, as part of the “Music of the Royal Courts” program included. 

Niane, D.T. Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali. Harlow: Longman African Writers, 1997.

Bilal ibn Rabah, or Bilali- former slave and first muezzin servant of the prophet Muhammad said to be the ancestor of the Mande people

djeli / griot– West African oral historian, praise singer, storyteller, bard, and musician

horon- noble caste

nyama / nyamakalaw – middle caste segment of population consisting of various skilled technicians such as blacksmiths, griots, leather workers, etc.

Senenkunya (jo banchi, or joking cousins)- societal device by which members of various ethnic groups, castes, and specific familial relationships relate through playful communication in order to alleviate potential tensions and conflict. Classic examples include the manner in which farmers and cattle keepers interact as well as the communication between a brother and sister-in-law. A detailed paper on this phenomenon may be found here.

One thought on “Episode 2: Dr. Karim Traore, Professor, University of Georgia

  1. Wonderful window to culture and tradition! Excellent and thoughtful questions by Adam to cover history through stories. The highlights for me were griots as word processors, the purpose of the hunters preparation focusing more on confronting the wilderness, learning to depend on their skills while realizing their vulnerability, the joking cousins and most of all that every layer of society being respected as an important piece of the community.

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