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Performing Wisdom

Proverbial Lore in Modern Ugandan Society


Edited by Dominica Dipio and Stuart Sillars

This is the third collection produced by members of a six-year research project, funded by the NUFU (Norwegian Programme for Development, Research, and Education), whose concern was to find, preserve, and analyse ‘orature’ – spoken forms of all kinds, both their unique qualities and their equivalence in importance to ‘literature’. A major focus was the ways in which forms of orature can be made relevant to the demands of rapidly developing nations faced with insistent problems (HIV/AIDS, administrative needs, shifts in social and familial structure, the changing roles of women).
Both innovative and archival, the essays explore older legends and modern performances to outline their positive and dynamic contribution to a protean society. Some contributors address the ways in which traditional forms may be adapted: e.g., via new media to combat the HIV/AIDS pandemic and to educate children in social and individual responsibility. Traditional narratives and children’s songs can function to counter cannibalism and child sacrifice.
Less dark aspects of contemporary society also receive attention. Traditional patterns of leadership are adapted to today’s conditions, especially by offering women models in the form of earlier figures and their actions. Two essays analyse the use of proverbs in the speeches of political candidates and discussing traditional music festivals as celebrations of traditional kingship and rule. Others examine the nature and operation of specific forms of orature – riddles and their subtle alteration according to performer and audience; concepts of heroism; stories of origin; and variants of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’. These sensitive analyses are framed by pieces from members of the research project in Norway and Uganda.

African Diasporas in the New and Old Worlds

Consciousness and Imagination


Edited by Geneviève Fabre and Klaus Benesch

In the humanities, the term ‘diaspora’ recently emerged as a promising and powerful heuristic concept. It challenged traditional ways of thinking and invited reconsiderations of theoretical assumptions about the unfolding of cross-cultural and multi-ethnic societies, about power relations, frontiers and boundaries, about cultural transmission, communication and translation. The present collection of essays by renowned writers and scholars addresses these issues and helps to ground the ongoing debate about the African diaspora in a more solid theoretical framework. Part I is dedicated to a general discussion of the concept of African diaspora, its origins and historical development. Part II examines the complex cultural dimensions of African diasporas in relation to significant sites and figures, including the modes and modalities of creative expression from the perspective of both artists/writers and their audiences; finally, Part III focusses on the resources (collections and archives) and iconographies that are available today. As most authors argue, the African diaspora should not be seen merely as a historical phenomenon, but also as an idea or ideology and an object of representation. By exploring this new ground, the essays assembled here provide important new insights for scholars in American and African-American Studies, Cultural Studies, Ethnic Studies, and African Studies. The collection is rounded off by an annotated listing of black autobiographies.

Philosophy and Democracy in intercultural Perspective / Philosophie et démocratie en perspective interculturelle

Two Conferences of Western and African Philosophers at Vienna and at Rotterdam / Deux conférences des philosophes d’Ouest et d’Afrique à Vienne et à Rotterdam


Edited by Heinz Kimmerle and Franz M. Wimmer

For the time being African philosophy is treated regularly in research and in teaching at two European scientific institutions: at the University of Vienna and at Erasmus University Rotterdam. In October 1993 there have been held two conferences of Western and African philosophers at both universities. Eleven African and nine Western scholars participated as speakers in these conferences. Four African speakers gave lectures at the Vienna and at the Rotterdam conference. The Vienna conference dealt with general questions of postcolonial philosophy in Africa. The conference at Rotterdam focused on the processes of democratization in African countries since 1989. This volume contains the papers of both conferences.

En ce moment la philosophie Africaine est traité regulièrement dans les recherches et dans l'enseignement à deux instituts scientifiques Européens: à l'Université de Vienne et à l'Université Erasme de Rotterdam. En Octobre 1993 deux conférences de philosophes Occidentals et Africains ont été organisé aux deux universités. Onze savants Africans et neuf savants Occidentals ont participé à ces deux conférences. Quatre savants Africains ont présenté des communications à tous les deux conférences de Vienne et de Rotterdam. La conférence Viennoise s'occupait de questions générales de la philosophie postcoloniale en Afrique. La conférence de Rotterdam focusait aux procès de démocratisation dans des pays africains depuis 1989. Se trouvent en ce volume les contributions à les deux conférences.