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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.
Ce volume présente un récit oral par le griot célébré Djèmory Kouyaté de Nyagassola (actuelle Guinée). Il traite de la façon dont on se souvient de l'époque qui relie la fondation de la société mandingue par Soundiata jusqu’à aujourd’hui. Les récits oraux sur cette époque sont rares car ils exigent du narrateur une compréhension avancée de l'histoire régionale et des relations entre les lignées dirigeantes concurrentes.
Le griot célébré, Djèmory Kouyaté (décédé en 2019), a réalisé ce récit à Naréna (Mali actuel), offrant ainsi un aperçu unique des stratégies de narration et des compétences diplomatiques des griots, car le récit de Djèmory peut être comparé à certains de ses enregistrements antérieurs réalisés à Nyagassola, une ville gouvernée par une lignée rivale des Bandjougousi de Naréna. L’Histoire des Bandjougousi est donc une source importante d’historiographie ouest-africaine.

This volume features an oral account by the acclaimed griot Djèmory Kouyaté from Nyagassola (present-day Guinée). It deals with the way the era that bridges the foundation of their society by Sunjata to their present-day society, called Manding, is remembered. Oral accounts on this era are rare as they demand from the narrator an advanced understanding of regional history and the relationships between competing ruling lineages.
The acclaimed griot Djèmory Kouyaté (d. 2019) performed this account in Naréna (present-day Mali), thus offering a unique insight into griots’ storytelling strategies and diplomatic skills, because Djèmory’s account can be compared with earlier recordings of him made in Nyagassola, a town ruled by a rival lineage to the Bandjougousi from Naréna. L’Histoire des Bandjougousi is therefore an important source for West African historiography.
This book offers an in-depth examination of the conflict of 1838 to 1840 between the Zulus and the Boers. Leśniewski reflects on the established historiography and reappraises some key conceptions of the war. The conflict has often been seen as a colonial war, with the Zulus cast into the role of either villains or victims. Drawing on written primary sources and Zulu oral tradition, the author instead argues that the war was a struggle between an established regional power aiming to defend and consolidate its position and an incoming power seeking land, settlement, and local supremacy.
Empowerment, Gender and Development in an African Movement
In Matarenda/Talents in Zimbabwean Pentecostalism, the fourteen contributors to this multidisciplinary collection reflect on how Pentecostalism contributes to the empowerment of marginalised societies, how it empowers women in particular through the matarenda (talents) principles, and how it contributes to the development of wider society. All but three of the authors are Zimbabwean Pentecostals.

The book deals with such subjects as gender equality, economics and finance, poverty alleviation and sustainable development, education, and entrepreneurship. A remarkable independent Zimbabwean church has harnessed biblical principles from the Parable of the Talents to empower women and those marginalised by economic disasters. It is particularly relevant for understanding the potential of African Pentecostalism in dealing with social and economic challenges.
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

Volume Editors: Rose Ann Torres and Dionisio Nyaga
We live in a society that promotes the universal process of producing knowledge and truth making as fundamental social process. Such promotion of universality seems to subjugate others forms of knowing rendering them invisible, unintelligible, and ineligible and subsequently outside the community of knowing. This has material and symbolic consequences in terms of how research informs policy and subsequent victimization of those who live, and experience subjugation meted by Western truth making universalism. In the words of Foucault, this book is an insurrection of subterranean and clandestine knowledges in ways that provide not just an alternative process of knowledge production but affirms local knowledge as necessary in production of a just society. The book looks at research as a social justice and transformational process that should speak of people’s ways of live without necessarily streamlining them into numbers. The book is a critically reflexive project in terms of returning processes of knowledge production to the local space rather than imagining them as entirely centred in the structure. To imagine this book as reflexive exercise is to break boundaries of knowledges in ways that come to imagine how local performs global in very complicated and complex ways. This book is a resurrection of local knowledges steeped in creative and imaginative reflexive methodologies that come to reorient how we come to know what we know, the values and realities that mark what we know and the how of knowledge production. It centres subjugated voices and knowledges as fundamental in production of knowledge.

Contributors include: Katie Bannon, Elizabeth Charles, Khulood Agha Khan, Dionisio Nyaga, Fritz Pino, and Rose Ann Torres.
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.