Ask Abe: The African Storyteller Class

An Alum

How many Badgers have taken The African Storyteller class?


Harold Scheub PhD’69and his African Storyteller course are legendary. Scheub arrived at the UW in the 1960s and started teaching his famed class in 1970. After a decade of traversing Africa, he decided it was his destiny to share the fantastic stories he’d collected, including the short one in this video. Scheub had a reputation as an energetic, passionate, and strict professor. If you arrived one minute late to class, you were forced to wait outside. His essay exams caused panic attacks. But Scheub gave his students a powerful experience — which explains why more than 20,000 Badgers have enrolled in his class. Scheub taught The African Storyteller for more than four decades and finally closed his last class on December 13, 2013, but his legacy lives on. He collected 10,000 stories, myths, and poems from Africa and many of his original recordings are stored by the UW Libraries and are currently being used by Matthew Brown, who teaches an online version of the course today.