African languages archives - Unpacking local epistemologies

This CRG facilitates the synergies of researchers engaged with African languages and documentation of texts conducted in East Africa, paying particular attention to ‘endangered archives’ and ‘endangered languages’ that have carved out complementary niches in the Afrophone world (see CorTypo and UMADA). More broadly, the CRG intends to forge a platform for a better understanding of Africa’s broad spectrum of literary traditions (past and present) both on the continent and in the global North. Our approach to ‘archives’ is comprehensive: as physical entities (i.e. repositories, collections), but also conceptual (written and oral texts, epistemologies).

One of the objectives of the CRG is to situate the production and consumption of ‘Europhone’ texts in relation to the several African language materials produced on the continent between the second half of the 18th century up to nowadays, giving space to a consideration of the different pressures causing one language to emerge as dominant over others, in particular times and places, as well as how languages cohabited and carved out complementary niches in print ecology.

Secondly, we pose questions about archival research methods and ask what sources are available and digitally accessible for reconstructing intellectual histories, histories of reading, reception and shifting local aesthetics across the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Photo: Mahmoud Ahmed Abdulkadir's National Panasonic RQ-565D on temporary display at one of the Lamu Fort windows. Photo by Thomas Gesthuizen, Lamu, October 2022.

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CRG Members

Felix Ameka (Leiden University Centre for Linguistics)
Inge Brinkman (UGent)
Jos Damen (ASCL)
Maud Devos (UGent)
Thomas Gesthuizen (Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society)
Jama Musse Jama (University of Pisa/Somali National University)
Maarten Kossmann (Leiden University Centre for Linguistics)
Karima Laachir (SOAS)
Xavier Luffin (Université Libre de Bruxelles)
Sara Marzagora (King’s College London)
Daniela Merolla (INALCO)
Khalid Mourigh (NIMAR, Leiden University)
Maarten Mous (Leiden University Centre for Linguistics)
Victoria Nyst (Leiden University Centre for Linguistics)
Sara Petrollino (Leiden University Centre for Linguistics)
Marcia Semedo (MA student, University of Luxemburg)
Heleen Smits (ASCL)
Khadija Issa Twahir (Lamu Fort Library, KNM)
Clarissa Vierke (Bayreuth University)
Margriet van der Waal (UvA)


Endangered and living archives, endangered languages, local epistemologies, literary traditions, translating knowledge systems, digitisation