Ajami Project 2017-2029


African voices in the Islamic manuscripts from Mali: documenting and exploring African languages written in Arabic script (Ajami)


At the present time, the Ajami Lab at the Centre for the Sudy of Manuscript Cultures at the Universität Hamburg operates under the auspices of a project, African voices in the Islamic manuscripts from Mali: documenting and exploring African languages written in Arabic script (Ajami), funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschunsgemeinschaft, DFG). Conceived as 12-year project, it was inaugurated in September 2017 and is currently under its first funding-cycle which lasts until December 2021.

The Ajami Lab is currently engaged in large-scale research on Ajami manuscripts held in the transferred Timbuktu collections of SAVAMA-DCI (l’Assocation pour la sauvegarde et la valorisation des manuscripts pour la défense de la culture islamique) currently housed in Bamako, as well as in other Malian libraries.

The main objectives of the project are as follows:

  1. In-depth cataloguing of a large and representative number of the Ajami manuscripts;
  2. Historical and linguistic analysis of the material brought to light by the cataloguing process;
  3. Establishment of a foundation for the interdisciplinary field of Ajami Studies.

Team

Principal Investigator:
Dr. Dmitry Bondarev

Project coordinator:
Dr. Maria Luisa Russo

Hamburg Unit:
Dr. Coleman Donaldson
Djibril Dramé, M.A.

Bamako Unit:
Dr. Ismaila Zangou Barazi (Université de Bamako)
Dr. Hamadou Boly (Université de Bamako)
Dr. Abdel Kader Haïdara (SAVAMA-DCI)
Dr. Samby Khalil Magassouba (Université de Bamako)
Dr. Banzoumana Traoré (SAVAMA-DCI)

External Project Advisors:
Prof. Dr. Nikolay Dobronravin (St. Petersburg State University)
Prof. Dr. Shamil Jeppie (University of Cape Town)
Prof. Dr. Fallou Ngom (Boston University)
Prof. Dr. Mauro Nobili (University of Illinois/Urbana–Champaign)
Dr. Lameen Souag (CNRS – LACITO)
Dr. Tal Tamari (CNRS – IMAF)


The team at work at the Bamako office (Traoré, Boly, Donaldson, Barazi, Magassouba).