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  • 1 Eötvös Loránd University
  • 2 Károli Gáspár University, Budapest
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This interview with Professor Jan Vansina, conducted in the mid-1980s by Szilárd Biernaczky, is the result of extensive correspondence between the two. After a brief introduction to the achievements of the distinguished and pioneering scholar of African history, the interview addresses the following issues: 1. the current status of oral history research; 2. new theories in the field of oral history research; 3. ethno-history versus oral history; 4. ethnography, ethnology, European peasantry, and oral history; 5. the mythical dimension of the “beginning” and its inherent historical models (“outbound” segments, migration, new conquest, first ancestors, etc.); 6. oral history as a source of nationalist movements in Africa; 7. the appreciation of oral history (and its research) and African cultural movements.

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  • Ayot, Henry Okello 1977 Historical Texts of the Lake Region of East Africa. Nairobi: Kenya Literature Bureau.

  • Biebuyck, Daniel P. - Biebuyck, Brunhilde 1987 “We Test Those Whom We Marry”. An Analysis of Thirty-six Nyanga Tales. Budapest: African Research Program ELTE.

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  • Biernaczky, Szilard 2003 A szajhagyomanyozott tôrténelem kutatasa (Levél-interjù Jan Vansina professzorral) [Investigating Oral History. Interview by Correspondence with Prof. Jan Vansina] Tabula 6(2):253262.

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  • Biernaczky, Szilard (ed) 1982 Folklore in Africa Today, Proceedings of the International Workshop. Budapest: [publisher not identified]. 1-4, XI. (Artes Populares 10-11.)

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  • Cissoko, Sékéné-Mody - Sambou, Kaoussou 1974 Recueil des Traditions Orales des Mandingues de Gambie et de Casamance. Niamey: CERDTO.

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  • Finnegan, Ruth 1970 Oral Literature in Africa. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

  • Harms, Robert W. - Miller, Joseph C. - Newbury, David S. - Wagner, Michele D. (eds) 1994 Paths toward the Past. African Historical Essays in Honor of Jan Vansina. Atlanta: GA, African Studies Association Press.

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  • Henige, David P. 1974 The Chronology of Oral Tradition. Quest for a Chimera. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

  • Henige, David P. 1982 Oral Historiography. London - New York - Lagos: Longman.

  • Mohammadou, Eldridge 1976 L’histoire despeuls Férobé du Diamaré: Maroua et Pétté. Tokio: ILCAA.

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  • Mudimbe, Valentin-Yves 1983 African Philosophy as an Ideological Practice. The Case of French-Speaking Africa. African Studies Review 26(3-4):133-154.

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  • Mwaniki, H. S. Kabeca 1974 Embu Historical Texts. Nairobi: East African Literature Bureau.

  • Pender-Cudlip, Patrick 1972 Oral Tradition and Anthropological Analysis: Some Contemporary Myths. Azania 7:612.

  • Vansina, Jan 1954 Les tribus ba-Kuba et les peuplades apparentées. Tervuren: Musée Royal de l’Afrique Centrale.

  • Vansina, Jan 1961 De la tradition orale, essai de méthode historique. Tervuren: Musée Royal de l’Afrique Centrale.

  • Vansina, Jan 1965 Oral Tradition. A Study in Historical Methodology. Chicago: Aldine.

  • Vansina, Jan 1976 La tradizione orale. Saggio di metodologia storica. Roma: Officina Edizioni.

  • Vansina, Jan 1962 L’evolution du royaume Rwanda des origines à 1900. Brussels: Académie Royale des Sciences d’Outre-Mer.

  • Vansina, Jan 1963 Geschiedenis van de Kuba van ongeveer 1500 tot 1904. Tervuren: Musée Royal de l’Afrique Centrale.

  • Vansina, Jan 1964 La royaume Kuba. Tervuren:Musée Royal de l’Afrique Centrale.

  • Vansina, Jan 1966 The Kingdoms of the Savanna. A History of Central African States until European Occupation. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press.

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  • Vansina, Jan 1967 The Use of Oral Tradition in African Culture History. In Bennett, N. and Gabel, C. (eds) Reconstructing African Culture History, 57-82. Boston, MA: Boston University Press.

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  • Vansina, Jan 1968 The Use of Ethnographic Data as Sources for History. In Ranger T. O. (ed) Emerging Themes of African History, 97-124. Dar es Salaam: East African Publishing House.

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  • Vansina, Jan 1971 Once Upon aTime. OralTraditions as History inAfrica, Daedalus 100(2):442468.

  • Vansina, Jan 1972 La légende du passé. Traditions orales du Burundi. Tervuren:Musée Royal de l’Afrique Centrale.

  • Vansina, Jan 1973 The Tio Kingdom of the Middle Congo 1880-1892. London - New York - Toronto: Oxford University Press.

  • Vansina, Jan 1974 Traditions of Genesis. Journal of African History 15(2):317322.

  • Vansina, Jan 1976 I nouvi sviluppi dello studio delle tradizioni orali (1960-1976). In VANSINA, Jan: La tradizione orale. Saggio di metodologia storica, 275321. Roma: Officina Editori.

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  • Vansina, Jan 1977 Tradizione orale e storia orale: risultati e prospettive. Quaderni storici 35:340358.

  • Vansina, Jan 1978 The Children of Woot. A History of the Kuba Peoples. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press.

  • Vansina, Jan 1978 Oral Tradition, Oral History: Achievements and Perspectives. In Bernardi, P. - Poni, C. - Triulzi, A (eds) Fonti Orali - Oral Sources - Sources Orales, 5974. Milano: Franco Angeli.

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  • Vansina, Jan 1980 La tradition orale et sa méthodologie. Histoire Generale de l’Afrique. Tome. 1. Méthodologie et préhistoire africaine, 67-190. Paris : Éditions de l’UNESCO.

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  • Vansina, Jan 1985 Oral Tradition as History. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press.

  • Vansina, Jan 1990 Paths in the Rainforests. Toward a History of Political Tradition in Equatorial Africa. London: James Currey.

  • Were, Gideon S. 1967 Western Kenya Historical Texts. Nairobi: East African Literature Bureau.

  • Willis, Roy 1981 A State in the Making. Myth, History, and Social Transformation in Pre-Colonial Ufipa. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

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  • Music SJR Quartile Score (2018): Q3
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Translators: Elayne Antalffy; Zsuzsanna Cselényi; Michael Kandó

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Cover Design: Dénes Kaszta

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Acta Ethnographica Hungarica
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Research Centre for the Humanities
Hungarian Academy of Sciences
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