My Master’s thesis, “L’épopée orale sérère: La geste de San Moon Fay,” which I defended in July 1993 at the University of Dakar in Senegal is a result of field work conducted in 1992. It consisted of a collection and recording of an oral epic from different “Griots” (troubadours in a European context) in Senegal. It included a transcription into the local dialect (Serere), a translation into French, and a literary analysis. The study examines the epic story of San Moon Fay, a historical and legendary king in the late nineteenth century whose figure in the ancient Serere kingdom in Senegal provides a strong model of thoughts and beliefs in pre-colonial West African societies. By considering the mythical representations and socio-political organizations of this ancient kingdom, the story shows how local forms of cultural expression are derived from oral genres- tales and epics- and how these shape written literatures, both colonial and postcolonial, through their oral literary devices.
The revision and the publication of my Master’s thesis are a top priority. One of the chapters has been published by Les Editions Karthala in Paris in 1997 in Les Epopees Africaines, a book written by L. Kesteloot and B. Dieng, two distinguished scholars in African oral literature. I have also written paper conferences relating to the thesis and I am committed to turn them into academic articles for publication. Thanks to a research grant recently awarded by the Humanities Faculty Development Board at Union College for the summer 2002, l was able to conduct further research related to the thesis, so that ultimately, it may be published in book form.