The IUP Journal of Law Review
Law and Literature: Why African Poetry Should Be Required Reading for Law Schools

Article Details
Pub. Date : July 2022
Product Name : The IUP Journal of Law Review
Product Type : Article
Product Code : IJLR010722
Author Name : Akporherhe Friday and Udi Peter Oghenerioborue
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : Arts & Humanities
Download Format : PDF Format
No. of Pages : 19



Research has shown that apart from disciplines such as mass communication, medical humanities, linguistics and performing arts (theater arts and music), the field of legal studies also requires the knowledge of literature (poetry) to attain its aims and objectives. The significance of studying poetry as a core requirement by legal practitioners and students is therefore the thrust of this study. In view of this, some African poems have been carefully selected based on their thematic relevance to legal issues and qualitatively analyzed. The Freudian psychoanalytic theoretical approach is adopted as it hinges on the underlying factors responsible for actions, thoughts and feelings of fictional characters in literary works. The study finds that African poetry does examine themes that relate to legal studies such as extra-judicial killings, injustice, judicial processes, human rights violation, unlawful detention, crime and punishment, exploitation and so on. An in-depth knowledge of these thematic preoccupations would help legal practitioners and students in the analysis of legal documents, persuasive arguments, drafting of applications, logical presentation of facts, judgment delivery and other judicial activities.


Every society has its culture which defines the lifestyle of its people. It is the responsibility of the members of the communities to observe, reflect on and promote the various aspects of their cultural heritage and also transmit them to successive generations. The elements of culture such as clothing, occupations, traditions, belief systems, festivals and religious practices have to be preserved, appreciated and promoted through the indigenous language of the people.

Scholars have noted that language is a medium of communication in every society. It is the means of expressing thoughts, feelings, culture, indigenous knowledge and practices of a particular group of people. The literature of a society is also expressed