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In African Somaesthetics: Cultures, Feminisms, Politics, Catherine F. Botha brings together original research on the body in African cultures, specifically interrogating the possibilities of the contribution of a somaesthetic approach in the context of colonization, decolonization, and globalization in Africa.

The eleven innovative contributions that consider the somaesthetic dimensions of experience in the context of Africa (centred broadly around the themes of politics, feminisms and cultures) reflect a diversity of perspectives and positions. The book is a first of its kind in gathering together novel and focused analyses of the body as conceived of from an African perspective.
Author: Israel J. Katz
Robert Lachmann’s letters to Henry George Farmer, from the years 1923-38, provide insightful glimpses into his life and his progressive research projects. From an historical perspective, they offer critical data concerning the development of comparative musicology as it evolved in Germany during the early decades of the twentieth century. The fact that Lachmann sought contact with Farmer can be explained from their mutual, yet diverse interests in Arab music, particularly as they were then considered to be the foremost European scholars in the field. During the 1932 Cairo International Congress on Arab Music, they were selected as presidents of their respective committees.
Author: Li Guo
This handbook aims mainly at an analytical documentation of all the known textual remnants and the preserved artifacts of Arabic shadow theatre, a long-lived, and still living, tradition — from the earliest sightings in the tenth century to the turn of the twentieth century. The book consists of three main parts and a cluster of appendixes. Part One presents a history of Arab shadow theatre through a survey of medieval and premodern accounts and modern scholarship on the subject. Part Two takes stock of primary sources (manuscripts), published studies, and the current knowledge of various aspects of Arabic shadow theatre: language, style, terminology, and performance. Part Three offers an inventory of all known Arabic shadow plays. The documentation is based on manuscripts (largely unpublished), printed texts (scripts, excerpts), academic studies (in Arabic and Western languages), journalist reportage, and shadow play artifacts from collections worldwide.

Abstract

Although there is no good “Oldowan” record in the Egyptian Nile Valley, the presence of the “Pebble Tools Tradition” is confirmed by surface finds, scattered in the valley and the deserts, recorded through both early and recent excavations, and confirmed by three important stratified sites at Western Thebes, Nag el Amra and Abassieh. Evidence for the existence of the Oldowan complex in Egypt was found, although there was no water corridor connecting the East African highlands to the Mediterranean, as the Proto-Nile had its sources within Egypt itself at the time of the Plio-Pleistocene boundary. The western coast of the Red Sea also should be considered a possible corridor for early Pleistocene hominins. There is still much more research to be done, especially in the Eastern Egyptian Desert and Sinai, to obtain a clearer picture of the scenario that happened during the Plio-Pleistocene episode of hominin dispersal out of Africa.

In: Journal of African Archaeology
Author: Helen Yitah

Abstract

This paper examines rural Ghanaian children’s creative performance of play songs in the context of recent scholarship on children’s rights in children’s literature. This scholarship, which has focused mainly on written literature in western contexts, seeks to give serious literary attention to children’s creative expression and thereby uphold their rights to contribute to the artistic life and culture of their societies. Kasena children of northern Ghana exhibit creative agency in adapting traditional play songs to new situations, as they re-create and reinterpret communal idioms, imagery and symbols, thus generating new forms, new concepts and new meanings. I illustrate the aesthetic qualities and transgressive features of this phenomenon by drawing on relevant indigenous Kasem concepts about art and creative resistance. If taken seriously, this dynamic heritage of children’s poetry can help us see emerging play genres as an affirmation of children’s creativity, and prompt a redefinition of ideas about childhood.

In: Utafiti

Abstract

Generally one finds there are shortages in the array of technical resources available to penetrate the morphology of Kiswahili and its similarities to, as well as its departures from, morphemic structures in other Bantu languages. The introduction of a new approach employed here is an attempt to contribute to correcting that deficit. Object relative Determiner Phrases (DPs) in Kiswahili are common noun phrases with the noun head called the object relative appearing in the initial position of the DP. The phrases also have relative words and clitics introducing relative clauses. In Kiswahili these phrases are formed via DP internal movements of the object noun to the highest position coupled with movements of the subject and verb complex. The suggestion here that the object relative moves to the highest position in DP configuration marks a significant departure from other studies. This analysis provides theoretical insights about how these constructions are mapped in the minds of Kiswahili speakers. Refinement of the morpho-syntactic display which is specific to Kiswahili is essential for helping learners of the language to master it correctly. Further research will reveal whether the analysis of the object relative adopted DP can be used to derive similar phrases in other Bantu languages, such as Sesotho, Chishona, Ikalanga, and ciNsenga.

In: Utafiti

Abstract

Nigerian gospel music is an emblematic and significantly informative entertainment industry; it is both an artistic and a contemporary religious genre that reveals social transformations nationally, regionally and globally. The historical fusion of entertainment with spirituality in Nigerian music reflects at once the influence of secular music upon the composition process and the performance context, the pressures of audience demand, the idiosyncrasies of each musician, as well as financial and commercial trends. The radical effects of change in the local labour market and in the world economy are not really new; these have been features of Nigerian gospel music since its origin. But now these factors define this music at the performance level as well.

In: Utafiti

Ikisiri

Tafiti juu ya matumizi ya lugha katika vyombo vya habari zimethibitisha kuwapo kwa makosa kadhaa ya lugha katika utoaji wa habari. Makala haya, yanamakinikia makosa ya kisarufi katika matini andishi za habari za BBC Swahili na DW Kiswahili. Sampuli ya makala kumi kutoka kila tovuti ya chombo husika zilichanganuliwa kulingana na nadharia ya Corder (1967). Makosa ya udondoshaji, uchopekaji, upatanisho wa kisarufi, umoja na wingi, mpangilio wa vipashio na mantiki yalithibitika. Sababu za kufanyika kwa makosa hayo ni pamoja na: kutomudu sarufi ya Kiswahili, kukosa umakini katika uandishi na uhariri, athari za lugha mama, lugha za kigeni, lugha ya mazungumzo, na uteuzi mbaya wa msamiati. Vilevile, ilibainika kuwa makosa hayo yana athari hasi kwa wazungumzaji wa lugha pamoja na lugha yenyewe. Hata hiyo, tafiti zaidi zinapaswa kufanywa juu ya mazingira yachocheayo uvumilivu wa makosa ya lugha katika utangazaji wa habari kwa Kiswahili.

In: Utafiti

Abstract

The archaeological remains found in the Mumba rock-shelter in northern Tanzania – where continuous deposits span from the Middle Stone Age (MSA) to the historical period – provide a unique opportunity to study trends in technology and behavioural change of early humans. Developments in symbolic thought may be evident in the production and use of ochre pigments, beads and rock art. At this site, beads and other symbolic artefacts are represented in varying quantities through the late MSA, the Later Stone Age (LSA), Neolithic, and post Stone Age cultures. Such beaded ornaments were made from various raw materials including ostrich eggshells, stone pebbles, and arthropod shells. Ancient beading technologies, discovered at Mumba and other MSA sites across the East African region, contribute to clarifying the origin and development of representational cognition in the distant past. These artefacts also reveal components of personal identity and creative expression, whose recorded remains are patchy and infrequently discussed in Sub-Saharan Africa. From a Darwinian perspective, these archaeological finds demonstrate the empirical issue of environmentally selected human responses to local stimuli. They are remnants of the synergistic adaptation that led more generally to the broader technological innovations and behavioural changes occurring through the late Middle Stone Age and later flourishing universally during the Late Stone Age culture.

In: Utafiti