Seminar #3: (PART 1) Keita and (PART 2) Olaudah Equiano or Amistad: The True Story
HUM 211 MIC/WIC - Fall 2007 - Prof. Cora Agatucci



To earn full points for this assignment, you must prepare in advance informal written prep., following the directions below for all Parts; and be in class on the day of the scheduled seminar to participate in seminar discussion & group reports.  Please label the first page of your Seminar prep with the MLA style heading & label 2nd+ pages with MLA style running page headers.

Seminar #3 Written Preparation: Choose one topic from Part 1 and one topic from Part 2.
In doing so, use and cite relevant HUM 211 course resources!

Part 1. Keita, The Heritage of the Griot
Relevant HUM 211 course resources:
--2.3  Epic of Sundjata HANDOUT & ONLINE:
--2.4  Keita Film Notes & Viewing Guide HANDOUT & ONLINE:

Prepare written notes and cite well-selected examples from the film and relevant HUM 211 course resources on one of the following topics:

Topic 1.A. Parallel Stories Filmmaker Dani Kouyate’s film Keita parallels the contemporary story of Mabo Keita and the past story of Sundjata, Mabo’s illustrious ancestor.  Compare significant similarities and/or differences between the characters and stories of Mabo Keita and his ancestor Sundjata Keita, considering how these two characters and/or stories seem to comment on each other. 
Topic 1.B. Griots Past and Present: Compare past and present roles of the Griot in Mande society--e.g. Djeliba Kouyate of the present, and Doua and Bella Fasseke (AKA Balla Fasseke) of the past.  And/or you may wish to approach filmmaker Dani Kouyate and his father Sogui Kouyate (a celebrated international actor who plays the character of Djeliba in the film and is a real-life griot) as modern-day griots, and consider how they are trying to use the modern medium of film to revitalize and carry out the griot’s challenging mission in today’s Africa.
Topic 1.C.  Mabo's Education: Djeliba and Mr. Fofano come into direct conflict over the education of Mabo Keita.  Mabo is torn between these two:  “I want to go to school, but I want the story to continue" (cited in Agatucci, "Keita Film Notes & Viewing Guide"; "Film Sequence and Scene Notes" section "17. Cut to Present: the Keita home").  Compare/contrast the different types of knowledge and education represented by Djeliba and Mr. Fofano.
Topic 1.D. Tradition and/vs. Modernity:  Cite and comment on some significant moments in the film Keita (1994) that address the relationship between tradition and modernity in West African Mande society in the late 20th century.  Also comment on what you make of Keita film director Dani Kouyate's view that modernity and tradition "are two parallel realities, and we are in between. And this is the problem. Sometimes we are traditional, sometimes we are modern without ever having achieved to integrate the two in an intelligent way. And this is why we have to take the bull by the horns" (Gavron and Reinwald, cited in Agatucci, "Keita Film Notes & Viewing Guide"; "Film Introduction" section "Director Dani Kouyaté & Griot Sotigui Kouyaté").  
Topic 1.E. The "Ending":
The final scenes of the film Keita leave both past and present heroes Sundjata and Mabo Keita at turbulent crossroads, where difficult choices must be made without their griots' guidance and the future is uncertain.  Analyze the thematic message conveyed by these final scenes, and speculate on why filmmaker Dani Kouyate chose to end his film this way. 

Topic 1.F. Hunter of Do: Analyze the role/s of the mysterious master Hunter of Do in Keita, citing well-selected examples to demonstrate your interpretation of what this character contributes to the film.  And be sure to speculate and/or raise questions on the reason/s why you think this character appears--the only character to appear--in both the present and past stories dramatized in the film.
Topic 1.G. Portrayals of Women: Analyze the portrayals of two or more female characters in Keita, citing well-selected examples to illustrate your analysis: e.g. of Sitan Keita (Mabo's mother), Do-Kamissa (the mystic Buffalo Woman), Sogolon (Do-Kamissa's "ugly" "adopted daughter" and mother of Sundjata), and/or Sassouma Berete ("beautiful" first wife of King Maghan Kon Fatta and mother of the King's first-born son Dankaran Touman). 
Topic 1.F. Another Significant Aspect of the Film If you want to focus on another aspect of the film Keita for Seminar #3 Part 1 written preparation, please contact Cora ASAP.

Part 2. Olaudah Equiano or Amistad: The True Story
Prepare written notes and cite well-selected examples from the relevant HUM 211 & online resources on one of the following topics:

Topic 2.A. Olaudah Equiano Based on your reading of online 3.2 "Olaudah Equiano (c. 1745-March, 31, 1797) & selected links, introduce and explain the significance of Olaudah Equiano and his slave narrative.  Be sure to cite your source/s!
Relevant HUM 211 course online resource + links:
--3.2 Olaudah Equiano (ONLINE ONLY):


Topic 2.B. Amistad: The True Story: Based on your readings from the web site Exploring Amistad at Mystic Seaport, recommended by 3.3 Amistad: The True Story & the Film; introduce and explain the significance of the true story of the Amistad.
Relevant HUM 211 course online resource + links:
--3.3 Amistad: The True Story (ONLINE ONLY):

Fall 2007 HUM 211 Syllabus | Course Plan | Online Course Pack Index
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