About the Dissertation

E. Tasun Tidorchibe’s dissertation is titled “Revisiting Formalism from a West African Perspective: Konkomba Folktales across Generations and Cultural Contexts.” It explores form (in formalism) from an Afrocentric perspective by employing an oral performance-sensitive new formalist criticism of folktales of the Konkomba people of northern Ghana. Among other things, the research interrogates, by teasing out classical and contemporary formalistic thoughts, the applicability of Global North concepts of form (and formalist approaches generally) in predominantly orally-based contexts like those from which Konkomba folktales emerge. It, thus, explores the nature and workings of form in situated oral contexts such as the Konkomba one in order to ascertain the interactions between form and orality and form and performance. Such an investigation, geared toward formulating an oral performance-sensitive critique and expansion of new formalistic currents, will ultimately offer further illuminations on the operations of form and unearth certain structural patterns pointing to similarities and/or differences as well as the core variables inherent in these Konkomba folktales as far as their formal aspects and renditions are concerned. The foregoing will, eventually, help gain a better understanding of how various literary, sociocultural, oral, and performance forms contribute to shaping these folktales and the KKB milieu from which they emerge. Above all, such an investigation will productively boost decolonization efforts and detextualize studies in form – and for that matter formalism.