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Contemporary Africa as a Centre of Global Encounter
This work challenges received ideas of Africa as a marginal continent and place of exodus by considering the continent as a centre of global connectivity and confluence. Flows of people, goods, and investments towards Africa have increased and diversified over recent decades. In light of these changes, the contributions analyse new actors in such diverse fields as education, trade, infrastructure, and tourism. They show the historicity of many current mobilities towards Africa and investigate questions of agency and power in shaping encounters between Africans and others in Africa today. In this way, the volume contributes significantly to debates on Africa’s position in global mobility dynamics and provides a firm basis for further research.

Contributors are: Gérard Amougou, Alice Aterianus-Owanga, Eric Burton, Jean-Frédéric de Hasque, Mayke Kaag, Guive Khan-Mohammad, Fabien Nkot, Miriam Adelina Ocadiz Arriaga, Ute Röschenthaler, Alexandra Samokhvalova, Stefan Schmid, Sophia Thubauville, Di Wu.
Volume Editor: Francisco Bethencourt
This book explores the significance of gender in shaping the Portuguese-speaking world from the Middle Ages to the present. Sixteen scholars from disciplines including history, sociology, anthropology, linguistics, literature and cultural studies analyse different configurations and literary representations of women's rights and patriarchal constraints. Unstable constructions of masculinity, femininity, queer, homosexual, bisexual, and transgender identities and behaviours are placed in historical context. The volume pioneers in gendering the Portuguese expansion in Africa, Asia, and the New World and pays particular attention to an inclusive account of indigenous agencies.

Contributors are: Darlene Abreu-Ferreira, Vanda Anastácio, Francisco Bethencourt, Dorothée Boulanger, Rosa Maria dos Santos Capelão, Maria Judite Mário Chipenembe, Gily Coene, Philip J. Havik, Ben James, Anna M. Klobucka, Chia Longman, Amélia Polónia, Ana Maria S. A. Rodrigues, Isabel dos Guimarães Sá, Ana Cristina Santos, and João Paulo Silvestre.
Mursi is a Nilo-Saharan language spoken by a small group of people who live in the Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia, and is one of the most endangered languages of the country.
Based on the fieldwork that the author conducted in beautiful villages of the Mursi community, this descriptive grammar is organized into fourteen chapters rich in examples and an appendix containing four transcribed texts. The readers are thus provided with a clear and useful tool, which constitutes and important addition to our knowledge of Mursi and of other related languages spoken in the area.
Besides being an empirical data source for linguists interested in typology and endangered language description and documentation, the grammar constitutes an invaluable gift to the speech community.
Brill’s Islam in Africa is designed to present the results of scholarly research into the many aspects of the history and present-day features of Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The series will take up issues of religious and intellectual traditions, social significance and organization, and other aspects of the Islamic presence in Africa. It includes monographs, collaborative volumes and reference works by researchers from all relevant disciplines.

Obituary

John Hunwick (1936-2015)

Professor John Owen Hunwick, a leading scholarly authority on the history of Islam in West Africa, passed away on 1 April 2015, after a lengthy illness.

Born in 1936 in Somerset, England, John Hunwick came into contact with Africa as a conscript soldier in British Somaliland from 1955. Back in Britain, he studied Arabic and Islamic history at the School of Oriental and African Studies, graduating in Arabic in 1959. He then went to Ibadan in Nigeria to teach Arabic and the University College there. After several years in Nigeria, he became Associate Professor of History at the University of Ghana, before finally coming to Northwestern University in Evanston, USA (from 1991), where he taught African history and Islamic studies until his retirement in 2004.

Professor Hunwick was an authority of a wide variety of topics and periods of the history of Islam in Africa, in particular in the medieval and early modern periods. He will perhaps be most remembered for his relentless efforts to show that Africa’s past was replete with written sources, and not just the “oral history” that earlier generations of historians assumed. He worked both to collect manuscripts but not least to catalogue and disseminate knowledge about them. In Timbuktu, which came to be at the centre of his attention from the mid-1990s onwards, he will in particular be remembered as the instigator for the UNESCO-initiated Centre de Documentation et de Recherches Ahmed Baba. The centre, now Institute for Studies and Research (IHERI), is a repository of locally produced Arabic manuscripts of a wide variety of topics. Hunwick committed himself to disseminating knowledge of the rich literary heritage in Arabic from Africa, not least through the multi-volume bio-biographical dictionary Arabic Literature of Africa (Leiden: Brill from 1990, edited together with R.S. O’Fahey). He also initiated several journals for this purpose, from Research Bulletin of the Centre of Arabic Documentation in his Ibadan period, through the Fontes Historiae Africanae bulletin, to Sudanic Africa: A Journal of Historical Sources, where he published a large number of documents and biographical studies on important Muslim scholars.

Professor Hunwick published several monographs, the most important being a study of the sixteenth-century Moroccan scholar al-Maghili’s influence on Songhay and Hausaland, Shari’a in Songhay (his Ph.D. Oxford University Press 1985), and a commented translation of al-Saʿdī’s Taʾrīkh al-sūdān: Timbuktu and the Songhay Empire (Brill 1999). However, already from the early 1960s he produced a series of important articles that set the pattern for the study of Islam in West Africa from the medieval to the modern, including an important discussion on the early history of Gao in the Almoravid period, on Islamic law in Songhay, and on issues pertaining to Sufism and slavery. He emphasized the importance of Africa’s contacts across the Sahara, and coined the phrase that “Arabic is the Latin of Africa.” In 2005, the African Studies Association recognized his extraordinary achievements by endowing him with the Distinguished Africanist Award.

Professor Hunwick’s lasting contribution to the study of Islam and Africa includes the establishment of the first academic centre exclusively devoted to the Islamic intellectual tradition in Africa: the Institute for the Study of Islamic Thought in Africa (ISITA), founded in 1999 under the umbrella of Northwestern University’s Program of African Studies (PAS). He was able to attract significant grants for ISITA and built an impressive scholarly network around its activities. Always fond of puns, Hunwick used to say, “IS IT A good program? Yes, it is!” Indeed, the role of ISITA in promoting the study of Islam in Africa cannot be overestimated. For Brill Academic Publishers, Hunwick will—in addition to his publications mentioned above—be noted as the founder of the book series Islam in Africa (ISAF).

Professor Hunwick was an generous, welcoming and compassionate scholar, who made all effort to support scholars working in West African Islamic history, and in particular his many students, from Africa and elsewhere. He was for many of us the ultimate authority on any question relating to the use of Arabic in Africa, to issues of Shari’a in the African Maliki tradition, and to scholarliness in general. A veritable pioneer and trailblazer has left us, and those who used to stand on the shoulders of this giant will miss him dearly.

Professor Knut S. Vikør, University of Bergen, Norway
Professor Rüdiger Seesemann, University of Bayreuth, Germany

Author: Erin Shay
This is the first broad, detailed grammar of the Giziga language, which belongs to the Chadic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family. The language is spoken in parts of the Far North Region of the Republic of Cameroon and can be divided into two dialects, Giziga and Northern Giziga, with about 80,000 native speakers in total. This volume describes the Giziga dialect, occasionally referring to the Northern variety, and aims to provide new information about this and other Afro-Asiatic languages for further research in linguistics, history, anthropology, sociology and related fields. The book will also be a tool helping Giziga speakers preserve their language, history and culture for future generations.
Volume I: Politics, Poverty, Marginalization and Education
With Africa as its point of reference and departure, this volume examines why and how the two concepts – radicalisms and conservatisms – should not be taken as mere binaries around which to organize knowledge. It demonstrates that these concepts have multiple and diverse meanings as perceived and understood from different disciplinary vantage points, hence, the deliberate pluralization of the terms. The essays show what happens when one juxtaposes the two concepts and how they are easily intertwined when different peoples’ lived experiences of poverty, political and social alienation, education, intolerance, youth activism, social (in)justice, violence, etc. across the length and breadth of Africa are brought to bear on our understandings of these two particularisms.

Contributors are: Adekunle Victor Owoyomi, Adeshina Francis Akindutire, Adewale O. Owoseni, Bright Nkrumah, Clement Chipenda, Ebenezer Babajide Ishola, Edwin Etieyibo, Israel Oberedjemurho Ugoma, Jonah Uyieh, Jonathan O. Chimakonam, Madina Tlostanova, Maduka Enyimba, Muchaparara Musemwa, Odirin Omiegbe, Obvious Katsaura, Olufunke Olufunsho Adegoke, Peter Kwaja, Philip Akporduado Edema, Tafadzwa Chevo, and Temitope Owolabi.
Structure and Socio-Pragmatics of a Nilotic Language of Uganda
Author: Maren Rüsch
A Conversational Analysis of Acholi elucidates various interaction strategies for the Nilotic language Acholi. Based on detailed examples, Maren Rüsch links the structural organization of Acholi conversations to cultural features such as politeness, language socialization and narrations. Despite common claims of universality regarding the structuring of human languages by previous authors, the study shows that some Acholi strategies differ from other languages. The verbal and non-verbal practices displayed give an in-depth insight into speakers’ cognitive participation during interaction.
On the basis of in-situ research in Uganda, including the collection of rich audio- and video-material, this volume provides an innovative approach to language documentation and description and constitutes a thorough conversation analytic study of an African language.
Author: Sergio Baldi
Following the publication in 2008 of Dictionnaire des emprunts arabes dans les langues de l'Afrique de l'Ouest et en Swahili, Dictionary of Arabic Loanwords in the Languages of Central and East Africa completes and offers the results of over 20 years of research on Arabic loanwords. The volume reveals the impact Arabic has had on African languages far beyond the area of its direct influence. As in the previous volume, the author analyses the loans in the greatest possible number of languages spoken in the area, based on the publications he found in the most important libraries of the main universities and academic institutions specialised in the field. By suggesting the most frequently used Arabic loanwords, the dictionary will be an invaluable guide to African-language lexicon compilers, amongst others.
In Biomedical Hegemony and Democracy in South Africa Ngambouk Vitalis Pemunta and Tabi Chama-James Tabenyang unpack the contentious South African government’s post-apartheid policy framework of the ‘‘return to tradition policy’’. The conjuncture between deep sociopolitical crises, witchcraft, the ravaging HIV/AIDS pandemic and the government’s initial reluctance to adopt antiretroviral therapy turned away desperate HIV/AIDS patients to traditional healers.

Drawing on historical sources, policy documents and ethnographic interviews, Pemunta and Tabenyang convincingly demonstrate that despite biomedical hegemony, patients and members of their therapy-seeking group often shuttle between modern and traditional medicine, thereby making both systems of healthcare complementary rather than alternatives. They draw the attention of policy-makers to the need to be aware of ‘‘subaltern health narratives’’ in designing health policy.
Histories of Claims and Conflict in a Kenyan Landscape
Pastoralists, ranchers of European descent, conservationists, smallholders, and land investors with political influence converge on the Laikipia plateau in Kenya. Land is claimed by all - the tactics differ. Private property rights are presented, histories of presence are told, charges of immorality are applied, fences are electrified and some resort to violence. The region, marked by enclosures, is left as a tense fragmented frontier.
Marie Gravesen embedded herself in the region prior to a wave of land invasions that swept the plateau leading up to Kenya’s 2017 general election. Through a rich telling of the history of Laikipia’s social, political and environmental dynamics, she invites a deeper understanding of the pre-election violence and general tensions as never done before.
The manuscript is a revised version of the author's dissertation accepted by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of Cologne in 2018.