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CfP: Things come together?: literary archives from, in and for Africa (Birmingham, Sept 2018)

This conference (11-13 September 2018, University of Birmingham) will explore African literary archives, their creation, preservation, digitisation and use in research and teaching.

African literature is multi-faceted and multi-lingual. Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (1958) not only signalled the first stages of a new outpouring of literary creativity in Africa, but also built upon long literary traditions, both oral and written. This conference will look at archives generated by novelists, poets and dramatists, whether in oral or written form and whether in modern or ‘traditional’ genres.

Papers are invited on archives in private ownership, and those held in institutions. What is being lost, and what is preserved? How are these resources made available, and how are they being used to engage with African publics? What is the role of literary heirs as guardians of these archives? How are these records managed in public and institutional archives? What are the problems and opportunities of preserving such recent material?
A further set of questions includes the role of these archives in helping to bring about change in the teaching of literature; the linguistic content and context of this material; and special considerations relating to oral archives.

Subjects might include, but are not limited to:

  • Availability/accessibility of literary archives
  • Literature in African languages
  • Translation
  • Oral archives
  • Street literature
  • The impact of new media on African literary archives
  • Engagement with communities
  • The archives of individual writers

Researchers, writers and their family members, archivists and librarians are invited to submit abstracts of up to 500 words for consideration for this conference to Sarah Rhodes (sarah.rhodes@bodleian.ox.ac.uk) by 31 March 2018. Please include your institutional affiliation and/or a short (one paragraph) biography.

This conference is held in association with the African Studies Association (UK).

Further information: www.asauk.net