Languages on the edge: from private archive to shared library

Within the framework of the IIAS programme Humanities across Borders: Asia and Africa in the World (HaB), Mali is the site of investigation for language and translation practices with a special focus on opening and connecting ‘marginal libraries’, that is: the often modest collections of print, sound and film records that any individual or institution might possess. In this regard, both the archives of the host institution, Mali’s Institute of Humanities (ISH), and personal files come into play.

Mohomodou Houssouba

The Newsletter 82 Spring 2019

Dar Impressions: The Other Story of Asia-Africa Relations

. . . And so I went to Dar. For an Asia-Africa conference. It wasn’t just any conference, but something quite different altogether. I would like to say that it wasn’t a field of presentations that only spoke and ignored one another, like the tower of Babel. In reality, everything came from all the senses, but nothing was disharmonic, solitary, or monologic. Even if it’s true that international Africa-Asia relations are currently facing a wall, there is another story of Asia and Africa which seemed, at Dar, to indicate the desire for connection and knowledge, to and for another world.

Abdourahmane Seck writes a beautiful note on his impressions of Dar es Salaam and the Asia-Africa: A New Axis of Knowledge Conference that took place in September this year.   

Accidental Exiles: Burmese Stories - Part 2

During the London meeting, one of the exiles jokingly said ‘we are ရေမျောကမ်းတင်’ meaning floating objects coming to rest ashore. A word usually reserved for the economically destitute who cannot afford to settle in one place has been reclaimed by a political exile albeit lightheartedly to depict their capricious and helpless lives. After the meeting, I realized that the place and time of our meeting in May 2017 were both important to contextualize some of the words and tones of the conversation we had.

Songhay Cowhide Patterns: Field notes from Gao, Mali

Mohomodou Houssouba's field work in Gao has unearthed a new series of photographs of cowhide patterns and their names in Songhay. He has so far collected the Songhay words for approximately 75 different types of cow pattern, 30 different types of goat pattern, 6 different types of donkey patterns and while he has collected the names for horses, image are still pending. You can see more of the photos on songhay.org.

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