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The Arts and Crafts of Literacy

Islamic Manuscript Cultures in Sub-Saharan Africa

Ed. by Brigaglia, Andrea / Nobili, Mauro

Series:Studies in Manuscript Cultures 12

Open Access

    Open Access
    eBook (EPUB)
    Publication Date:
    September 2017
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    Aims and Scope

    During the last two decades, the (re-)discovery of thousands of manuscripts in different regions of sub-Saharan Africa has questioned the long-standing approach of Africa as a continent only characterized by orality and legitimately assigned to the continent the status of a civilization of written literacy.

    However, most of the existing studies mainly aim at serving literary and historical purposes, and focus only on the textual dimension of the manuscripts. This book advances on the contrary a holistic approach to the study of these manuscripts and gather contributions on the different dimensions of the manuscript, i.e. the materials, the technologies, the practices and the communities involved in the production, commercialization, circulation, preservation and consumption.

    The originality of this book is found in its methodological approach as well as its comparative geographic focus, presenting studies on a continental scale, including regions formerly neglected by existing scholarship, provides a unique opportunity to expand our still scanty knowledge of the different manuscript cultures that the African continent has developed and that often can still be considered as living traditions.


    x, 367 pages
    Type of Publication:
    Subsahara, Islam culture, manuscript
    Scholars, insitutes, libraries (epistemology, history of knowledge, media history, Islam studies)

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    Andrea Brigaglia, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Mauro Nobili, Univeristy of Illinois at Urbana-Chamapaign IL, USA.

    Comments (1)

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    • Congratulations Andrea and Mauro for this brilliant achievement, it sounds very exciting! Hopefully, such studies will be extended to the regions of Tuat, Gurara and Tidikkelt in the south of Algeria. These regions count tens of Khizanat with thousands of manuscripts kept in appalling conditions out of the students and researchers. We are now working on a project called PAM (the Platform of Algerian Manuscripts) similar to WAMD. We intend to introduce on the platform 30 000 manuscripts by 2020..

      posted by: Tahar Abbou on 2019-06-06 08:01 PM (Europe/Berlin)