As the manuscript treasures in the libraries of Timbuktu and throughout the northwestern quarter of Africa become known, many questions are raised. How did a manuscript culture flourish in the Sahara and in Muslim Africa more generally? Under what conditions did African intellectuals thrive, and how did they acquire scholarly works and the writing paper necessary to contribute to knowledge? By exploring the history of the trans-Saharan book and paper trades, the scholarly production and teaching curriculae of African Muslims and the formation, preservation and codicology of library collections, the authors of this original volume provide a variety of answers. The select number of invited contributions represents current research in the material, technological, economic, and cultural dimensions of manuscript production, circulation, and preservation, and the development of specific scholarly and intellectual traditions in Saharan and Sudanic Africa
Graziano Krätli is the International Digital Projects Librarian at Yale University. He has published articles and translations of American, British and Indian authors, travel literature, and the history of the book in non-Western societies.
Ghislaine Lydon is an Associate Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles who specializes in the cultural and economic history of Western Africa and the Sahara.
The contributors are Said Ennahid, Abdel Kader Haïdara, Bruce S. Hall, Graziano Krätli, Murray Last, Ghislaine Lydon, Stefan Reichmuth, Eric Ross, Judith Scheele, Charles C. Stewart, Houari Touati, and Terence Walz.
Foreword – Houari Touati
Chapter One: The Historic Geography of the Trans-Saharan Book Trade – Eric Ross
Chapter Two: A Thirst for Knowledge: Arabic Literacy, Writing Paper and Saharan Bibliophiles in Southwestern Sahara – Ghislaine Lydon
Chapter Three: The Paper Trade of Egypt and the Sudan in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries – Terence Walz
Chapter Four: The Historic “Core Curriculum” and the Book Market in Islamic West Africa –Bruce S. Hall and Charles C. Stewart
Chapter Five: The Book and the Nature of Knowledge in Muslim Northern Nigeria, 1457-2007 – Murray Last
Chapter Six: Notes on Arabic Manuscripts and Literary Culture in Nineteenth-Century Ilorin – Stefan Reichmuth
Chapter Seven: An Overview of Major Manuscript Libraries in Timbuktu – Abdel Kader Haïdara
Chapter Eight: Information and Communication Technologies for the Preservation and Valorization of Documentary Heritage in Morocco – Said Ennahid
Chapter Nine: Coming to Terms with Tradition: Manuscript Conservation in Contemporary Algeria – Judith Scheele
Chapter Ten: Camel to Kilobytes: Preserving the Cultural Heritage of the Trans-Saharan Book Trade – Graziano Krätli
Note on Contributors
All those interested in the history of Islam in Africa, the book and paper trades, library formation, manuscript cultures, preservation of cultural heritage, as well as codicologists, philologists and cultural historians.