Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

African languages archives

This collaborative research group (CRG) facilitates the synergies of researchers engaged with African languages and documentation of texts conducted in East Africa, paying particular attention to ‘endangered archives’ and ‘endangered languages’.

Azeb Amha

More broadly, the CRG intends to forge a platform for a better understanding of Africa’s broad spectrum of literary traditions (past and present) both on the continent and in the global North. Our approach to ‘archives’ is comprehensive: as physical entities (i.e. repositories, collections), but also conceptual (written and oral texts, epistemologies).

One of the objectives of the CRG is to situate the production and consumption of ‘Europhone’ texts in relation to the several African language materials produced on the continent between the second half of the 18th century up to nowadays, giving space to a consideration of the different pressures causing one language to emerge as dominant over others, in particular times and places, as well as how languages cohabited and carved out complementary niches in print ecology.

Secondly, we pose questions about archival research methods and ask what sources are available and digitally accessible for reconstructing intellectual histories, histories of reading, reception and shifting local aesthetics across the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

For more information and a full list of researchers involved in this CRG, visit the ASCL website.

Azeb Amha or Annachiara Raia

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