Boston University: ASC Launches Research Project on Ajamī Literature in West Africa. ASC is the African Studies Center. “The research project will identify and digitize manuscripts in four major West African languages – Hausa, Mandinka, Fula, and Wolof, transcribe the texts and translate them into English and French, prepare commentaries, and create related multimedia resources to be made widely available within and beyond the United States. The Ajamī literatures that have developed in sub-Saharan Africa and hold a wealth of knowledge on the history, politics, cosmologies, and cultures of the region, are generally unknown to scholars and the public due to lack of access.”
Boston University: ASC Completes Research Project on Mandinka Archives. “The African Studies Center, an affiliated center of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, have completed a project with Mugar Library focusing on the archives of Mandinka scholars of Casamance, Senegal…. The team digitized a little over 18,000 pages of Arabic, Arabic-Ajami bilingual texts, and Mandinka Ajami materials covering a variety of religious and non-religious subjects. This reprsents the largest digital collection of Mande scholars’ work in the world, which will help scholars and students of Africa around the world enhance their teaching and research on various aspects of Africa.”
University of Alaska Anchorage: ‘This is our patrimony’: Dance professor archives two decades of Afro-Cuban history. “For the past 27 years, UAA theater and dance professor Dr. Jill Flanders Crosby has been working on a project spanning generations, mediums and even the Atlantic Ocean. Since 1997, Flanders Crosby has traveled between Perico and Agramonte, Cuba, and the West African communities of Dzodze, Ghana, and Adjodogou, Togo, to preserve each community’s history and traditions via video and audio recordings. Don’t call this work a passion project. According to Flanders Crosby, it’s much more than that.”
Leadership (Nigeria): AUN, 8 Others To Build Database On Boko Haram Insurgency. “The American University of Nigeria (AUN) and a consortium of nine universities in Canada and the Lake Chad basin countries of Nigeria, Chad, Niger, and Cameroon has secured a preliminary grant of C$198,000 to build a massive database on the Boko Haram insurrection in the Lake Chad basin.”
France is using crowdsourcing to add African perspectives to French colonial West Africa. “France’s National Archives have invited people in some 100 cities nationwide to donate memorabilia – such as letters, photos and notebooks – linked to France’s role in West Africa in the 19th and 20th century. The operation, known as La Grande Collecte, aims to enrich the memory of the colonial period, adding the personal touch that’s currently lacking.” This is the third iteration of La Grande Collecte.
More crowdsourcing for people of color: the International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC), which is doing some very interesting projects, wants to highlight the Caribbean and West African volunteers who served in the Royal Air Force (RAF) during World War II. “…the board of trustees of the new International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC) being built in Lincoln to honour those who fought in Bomber Command, is now appealing for photographs, letters and oral testimonies of Caribbean and West African aircrew to be included in the Centre’s digital archive. Black volunteers served in the RAF as pilots, navigators, air gunners and flight engineers, and a third were killed in action. A quarter of those who fought were awarded medals.”