13 April 2015

 Print Culture and Colonisation in Africa Colloquium

Jointly hosted by the University of Pretoria and the University of Cape Town
In collaboration with Oxford Brookes University and with funding from the British Academy
The flow of technology, missionaries and merchants brought printing to African countries. The development of print culture was dispersed and intensified by the advent of colonisation. This two-day colloquium will focus on the interplay between colonial interventions and local textual cultures. Papers may explore the ways in which books and the book trade have been shaped by Africa's colonial and postcolonial history, and how print cultures developed across the continent in the context of wide-scale European colonisation. They may also consider the history of the book in the context of apartheid South Africa. ‘Colonisation’ may also be seen as an ongoing practice, and its power dynamics and implications for current print culture explored.
Date: 28 –29 May 2015
Venue: University of Cape Town 
Summer Academy on World Scripts
In collaboration with The Forum Transregionale Studien (Berlin), the Max Weber Foundation (Bonn), the University of Cape Town, the French Institute in South Africa (Johannesburg) and the Berlin-based research program Zukunftsphilologie: Revisiting the Canons of Textual Scholarship
The Summer School will explore, from a comparative and global perspective, the vocabularies and typologies of writing in various philological traditions and the role of script as a technology in the production, diffusion, archiving and exchange of knowledge. The School will pay particular attention to the experience of writing and the technologies of script on the African continent and especially explore comparative cases and entangled histories that connected Africa to the Arabophone world, the Mediterranean region and via the Indian Ocean to South and Southeast Asia. The Summer School will focus broadly on the second millennium but is open to wider teleologies.
Date: September 2015
Venue: University Cape Town

2014: PAST EVENTS - Summary Report on the Lake Chad Region Workshop

13 April 2015

The Tombouctou Manuscripts Project was one of the sponsors and organisers of a three-day workshop themed: Muslim Ulama in the Intellectual History of the Wider Lake Chad Region. The workshop formed a part of the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Oppenheimer Africa Project 2014 and was held at Monkey Valley Resort, Noordhoek in Cape Town, South Africa, during the period of 16 – 20 November 2014. Other sponsors and organisers included: the Centre for Contemporary Islam (Department of Religious Studies, UCT), Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures (University of Hamburg) and the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust. 

Scholars and graduate students with research and scholarship centred on the Lake Chad region—Chad, Northeast Nigeria and Northern Cameroon—presented papers on various topics in Arabic, English and French. In his welcoming speech, Andrea Brigaglia, a lecturer in the Department of Religious Studies at UCT, highlighted the lack of in-depth scholarship on the region. Even as he acknowledged existing scholarship on the Hausa regions—mostly in northeast Nigeria—he stressed the need to advance research focussed on Chad and Cameroon. At the same time, Brigaglia also mentioned some of the reasons for the setback in scholarly works in this region: security issues (for example, the activities of Boko Haram), difficulty in accessing manuscripts in private and family collections as well as the abandonment of manuscripts in the possession of rulers, families and libraries. 
The workshop culminated with suggested strategies highlighting the need for continuous research and collaboration of researchers with the Lake Chad region as its research focus. 
For more information on speakers and presentations, see the workshop schedule as well as the announcement for the public colloquium. 

2014: PAST EVENTS - Nigeria Study Day

13 April 2015

 HUMA and Tombouctou Special Event: Nigeria Study Day

Nigeria has been in the news and in our conversations for all sorts of reasons. There is the insurgency in the Northeastern part of the country by the shady Boko Haram group that emerged in the early 2000s that has been able to enact really brutal acts of terror. The most infamous of which was the kidnap of around 300 schoolgirls. Military responses have only worsened the situation while various politicians have been using the crisis for their own benefit. Next year, 2015, Nigeria will have general elections. This situation has once again turned the country into an example of an African country in perpetual turmoil on the brink of unspeakable disaster.
Title: Entitlement Failure, Human Security, and State Capacity: Nigeria in the Age of Boko Haram
Speaker: Prof Jimi Adesina (SARchi Chair in Social Policy, Unisa) 
Title: New Nigerian Writing and Local Circuits of Value: Some Preliminary Reflections.
Speaker: Prof Harry Garuba (African Studies Centre, UCT) 
Title: Is the ‘North’ a mere Rhetorical Tool? Reflections on the Disintegration of Northern Nigeria from the First Republic to Boko Haram
Speaker: Dr. Andrea Brigaglia (Department of Religious Studies, UCT) 
Title: The Nigerian History Machine and the Poverty of National Narrative
Speaker: Mr Samaila Suleiman (Bayero University, Nigeria)
Date: Wednesday, 20 August 2014
For more information, review the programme announcement here.

2014: PAST EVENTS - Half a Century of Engagement with Nigeria: Murray Last and his Scholarship

13 April 2015

 Title: Half a Century of Engagement with Nigeria: Murray Last and his Scholarship. 

Speakers: A conversation between Prof Murray Last (UCL) and Andrea Brigaglia (UCT).
Murray Last specialises in both the precolonial history of Muslim northern Nigeria and the ethnography of illness and healing. He has been working in or on northern Nigeria since 1961, researching a wide variety of subjects.
Date: Tuesday, 5 August 2014
For more information, review the seminar announcement here.

2014: PAST EVENTS - Paper in Africa

13 April 2015

 Title: Paper in Africa

Speakers: A conversation between Michaelle Biddle (Wesleyan University) and Shamil Jeppie (UCT)
Even in this ‘Information Age’ paper is everywhere and as a result we hardly see it. But each sheet of paper tells a story in a fragile process of continuing dialogue and communication across time and space. The paper used in all but a handful of surviving Sub-Saharan manuscripts in Arabic script is European in origin. How was it made? How did it get to Africa?
Date: Wednesday, 30 July 2014
For more information, review the seminar announcement here