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L’œuvre d’un historien guinéen à l’époque coloniale / The Work of a Guinean Historian during the Colonial Period
Authors: Elara Bertho and Marie Rodet
Essai d’histoire locale fut écrit par un acteur-clé de l’historiographie de l’Afrique de l’Ouest pourtant encore méconnu: Djiguiba Camara. Rédigé en 1955, ce texte est centré sur l’histoire de la Haute Guinée, avec une attention particulière portée sur l’empire de Samori Touré et la résistance anticoloniale.
Ce texte, Essai d’histoire locale, illustre la fabrique de l’histoire locale par un intermédiaire colonial guinéen et un intellectuel, à partir du point de vue spécifique de la famille Camara, qui fut engagée dans les armées de Samori. Ce texte n’a été connu que parce qu’il est devenu l’une des sources majeures de l’historien français Yves Person pour sa monumentale thèse Samori, Une Révolution Dyula (1968-1975). Avec l'édition annotée de cette source primaire, Essai d’histoire locale de Djiguiba Camara devient enfin accessible à un lectorat plus vaste. Elara Bertho et Marie Rodet ont démontré grâce à cette publication que Essai d’histoire locale est une source essentielle pour la compréhension de l’histoire de la Guinée et de la fabrique de l’historiographie en générale, et du travail d’Yves Person en particulier.

Although a key figure in West African historiography, Djiguiba Camara has remained almost completely unknown. Completed in 1955, Essay on Local History focuses on the history of Upper Guinea with an emphasis on the Empire of Samori Touré and anticolonial resistance.
Everywhere in Essay on Local History we can see not only the highly developed craft of the local historical writing of a Guinean colonial intermediary and scholar, but the view he gave is from the particular perspective of the Camara family, who had served in Samori’s armies. Djiguiba Camara’s own work had been known only by reputation as a source for the monumental thee-volume Samori – Une Révolution Dyula (1968-1975) by the French historian Yves Person. Now however, in this fully annotated text edition, Djiguiba Camara’s Essay on Local History becomes available to a wider audience for the first time. Elara Bertho and Marie Rodet have demonstrated through this publication that Essay on Local History is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand both the history of Guinea and the making of historiography in general, but also Yves Person’s modus operandi.
This book presents fifty-one didactic and devotional Sufi poems (with English translations) composed by the ulama of Brava, on Somalia’s Benadir coast, in Chimiini, a Bantu language related to Swahili and unique to the town. Because the six ulama-poets, among whom two women, guided local believers towards correct beliefs and behaviours in reference to specific authoritative religious texts, the poems allow insight into their authors’ religious education, affiliations, in which the Qādiriyyah and Aḥmadiyyah took pride of place, and regional connections. Because the poems refer to local people, places, events, and livelihoods, they also bring into view the uniquely local dimension of Islam in this small East African port city in this time-period.