12 Januar 2012


Mauro Nobili

Dr Mauro Nobili
CSMC/University of Naples

West African Manuscript Tradition: A Still Uncharted Heritage

The presentation aims at offering an introduction to the West African manuscript heritage, starting from some figures relating to the number of manuscripts preserved in West African libraries. It discusses the prejudices that permeate both so-called `Islamic studies´ and `African studies´ and led to the disqualification of this heritage. The presentation also analyzes some samples of descriptions of existing collections of West African manuscripts and evidence that our knowledge of West African manuscripts is almost completely limited to their textual contents. Little is known of the `container´ , i.e. the manuscript as an artifact. Finally, the presentation examines one of the most peculiar features of West African manuscripts: their structure made of unbound loose-leaves.