Written Culture in a Colonial Context

Africa and the Americas 1500 - 1900

Series:

Editors: Adrien Delmas and Nigel Penn
Recent developments in the cultural history of written culture have omitted the specificity of practices relative to writing that were anchored in colonial contexts. The circulation of manuscripts and books between different continents played a key role in the process of the first globalization from the 16th century onwards. While the European colonial organization mobilised several forms of writing and tried to control the circulation and reception of this material, the very function and meaning of written culture was recreated by the introduction and appropriation of written culture into societies without alphabetical forms of writing. This book explores the extent to which the control over the materiality of writing has shaped the numerous and complex processes of cultural exchange during the early modern period.

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Biographical Note

Adrien Delmas, Ph.D. (2010) in History, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Paris, is currently reseacher at the European University Institute, Florence. He has published on travel writing in the early modern world, including Les voyages de l’écrit. Culture écrite et expansion européenne à l’époque moderne, essais sur la Compagnie Hollandaise des Indes Orientales (Honoré Champion, 2011).

Nigel Penn, Ph.D. (1995) in History, University of Cape Town, is Professor of History at the University of Cape Town. He has published extensively in early Cape colonial history including The Forgotten Frontier (University of Ohio Press, 2005).

Table of contents

CONTENTS

Acknowledgments ................................................................................................ vii

Foreword: Writing at Sea
Isabel Hofmeyr ....................................................... ix

Contributors ............................................................................................................ xiii

Introduction: The written word and the world
Adrien Delmas ................................................................................................... xvii

Part I
1. Rock art, scripts and proto-scripts in Africa: The Libyco-Berber example
Jean-Loïc Le Quellec ......................................................................................... 3
2. From pictures to letters: The early steps in the Mexican tlahcuilo’s alphabetisation process during the 16th century
Patrick Johansson .............................................................................................. 31
3. Edmond R. Smith’s writing lesson: Archive and representation in 19th-century Araucanía
André Menard .................................................................................................... 57

Part II
4. Missionary knowledge in context: Geographical knowledge of Ethiopia in dialogue during the 16th and 17th centuries
Hervé Pennec ...................................................................................................... 75
5. From travelling to history: An outline of the VOC writing system during the 17th century
Adrien Delmas ................................................................................................... 97
6. Towards an archaeology of globalisation: Readings and writings of Tommaso Campanella on a theological–political empire between the Old and the New worlds (16th–17th centuries)
Fabián Javier Ludueña Romandini ............................................................... 127

Part III
7. Charlevoix and the American savage: The 18th-century traveller as moralist
David J. Culpin ................................................................................................ 149
8. Written culture and the Cape Khoikhoi: From travel writingto Kolb’s ‘Full Description’
Nigel Penn ......................................................................................................... 171
9. Nothing new under the sun: Anatomy of a literary-historical polemic in colonial Cape Town circa 1880–1910
Peter Merrington ............................................................................................ 195

Part IV
10. Mapuche-Tehuelche Spanish writing and Argentinian-Chilean expansion during the 19th century
Julio Esteban Vezub ....................................................................................... 215
11. To my Dear Minister: Official letters of African Wesleyan Evangelists in the late 19th-century Transvaal
Lize Kriel .......................................................................................................... 243
12. Literacy and land at the Bay of Natal: Documents and practices across spaces and social economies
Mastin Prinsloo ............................................................................................. 259

Part V
13. The ‘painting’ of black history: The Afro-Cuban codex of José Antonio Aponte (Havana, Cuba, 1812)
Jorge Pavez Ojeda ........................................................................................... 283
14. On not spreading the Word: Ministers of religion and written culture at the Cape of Good Hope in the 18th century
Gerald Groenewald ........................................................................................ 317
15. Occurrences and eclipses of the myth of Ulysses in Latin American culture
José Emilio Burucúa ...................................................................................... 341

Index ......................................................................................................................... 373

Readership

All those interested in book history, literacy studies, colonial history, early modern history, African history, American and Latin American history.

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