URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2144/1896

AAL is a collaborative initiative between Boston University and the West African Research Center (WARC) in part funded by the British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme. The AAL Project is led by Dr. Fallou Ngom (Professor of Anthropology & Director, African Language Program, African Studies Center, Boston University). AAL is envisioned as a digital “Alexander Library” of Islamized Africa, a continental open access public repository of aggregated Ajami materials. The first step in building AAL took place this summer of 2011. Dr. Ngom and Mr. Roger Brisson, Head of Metadata Services of Boston University traveled to Senegal to lead a workshop at WARC focused on digitization techniques of endangered Wolof Ajami manuscripts. Five people were trained in the workshop, including Mr. Ablaye Diakite (AAL-Team Member), Mr. Birane Gassama (AAL-Team member), Mr. Abdoulaye Niang (WARC Technical Director), Mr. Aliou Badara Sarr (WARC Assistant Librarian), and Mr. Ali Diop (an independent scholar).

Although written records are rarely regarded as part of sub-Saharan Africa’s intellectual heritage, important bodies of Ajami literature have existed in Oromo, Somali, Tigrigna, Kiswahili, Amharic, and Malagasy in East Africa, and Bamanakan, Mandinka, Kanuri, Yoruba, Berber, Hausa, Wolof, and Fulfulde in West Africa for centuries. In South Africa, Muslim Malay slaves produced the first written record of Afrikaans in Ajami. The neglect is due to a number of factors, including the lack of an Ajami public depository, the limited number of individuals with the linguistic skills and cultural background required to analyze Ajami documents, and a lack of recognition of the cultural value of Ajami texts, as many Europeans and Arab scholars with the linguistic competence to study these materials have often deemed them of little scholarly interest. Most assume that sources of useful knowledge on Africa are either oral or written in European languages. Yet, Ajami traditions of Africa are centuries-old and are quite varied, consisting of satirical, polemical and protest poetry, as well as biographies, eulogies, genealogies, talismanic resources, therapeutic medical manuals, family journals, business transactions, historical records, speeches, texts on administrative and diplomatic matters (correspondence between Sultans and provincial rulers), Islamic jurisprudence, behavioral codes, grammar, and even visual arts. The primary goal of AAL is to ensure that these materials are no longer treated as insignificant vestiges, but rather as major sources of local African knowledge, without which a holistic and in-depth understanding of Islamized Africa will remain elusive.

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  • The Sorabe Islamic Manuscripts used by Diviners-Healers in Southwestern Madagascar 

    Beaujard, Philippe
    This item contains a video and photograph of a talk given by Professor Philippe Beaujard on March 27, 2017, which was hosted by African Language Program, African Studies Center at Boston University.
  • I Totôry 9 A 

    Unknown
    The material is the first part of the ninth of eleven texts (the fourth text and the second and third parts of the eleventh were not digitized) owned by Iaban’i Totôry, a diviner-healer (called ombiasy in Malagasy). Iaban’i ...
  • I Totôry 6 E 

    Unknown
    The material is the fifth part of the sixth of eleven texts (the fourth text and the second and third parts of the eleventh were not digitized) owned by Iaban’i Totôry, a diviner-healer (called ombiasy in Malagasy). Iaban’i ...
  • I Totôry 1 B 

    Unknown
    The material is the second part of the first of eleven texts (the fourth text and the second and third parts of the eleventh were not digitized) owned by Iaban’i Totôry, a diviner-healer (called ombiasy in Malagasy). Iaban’i ...
  • I Totôry 5 

    Unknown
    The material is the fifth of eleven texts (the fourth text and the second and third parts of the eleventh were not digitized) owned by Iaban’i Totôry, a diviner-healer (called ombiasy in Malagasy). Iaban’i Totôry belonged ...
  • I Totôry 3 

    Unknown
    The material is the third of eleven texts (the fourth text and the second and third parts of the eleventh were not digitized) owned by Iaban’i Totôry, a diviner-healer (called ombiasy in Malagasy). Iaban’i Totôry belonged ...
  • Mahef 1 C 

    Unknown
    The material is the third part of the first of four texts owned by Mosa Mahefamanana, a religious chief (called katibo in Malagasy), and then by his daughter, named Iabani’i Grity (short for Marguerite). Mosa Mahefamanana ...
  • RG 2 B 

    Unknown
    The material is the second part of the second of four texts owned by Georges, who was in the same family as Iaban’i Totôry, a diviner-healer (called ombiasy in Malagasy). Georges belonged to the Anakara Clan and lived in ...
  • I Totôry 6 A 

    Unknown
    The material is the first part of the sixth of eleven texts (the fourth text and the second and third parts of the eleventh were not digitized) owned by Iaban’i Totôry, a diviner-healer (called ombiasy in Malagasy). Iaban’i ...
  • I Totôry 2 B 

    Unknown
    The material is the second part of the second of eleven texts (the fourth text and the second and third parts of the eleventh were not digitized) owned by Iaban’i Totôry, a diviner-healer (called ombiasy in Malagasy). ...
  • I Totôry 6 B 

    Unknown
    The material is the second part of the sixth of eleven texts (the fourth text and the second and third parts of the eleventh were not digitized) owned by Iaban’i Totôry, a diviner-healer (called ombiasy in Malagasy). Iaban’i ...
  • I Totôry 6 F 

    Unknown
    The material is the sixth part of the sixth of eleven texts (the fourth text and the second and third parts of the eleventh were not digitized) owned by Iaban’i Totôry, a diviner-healer (called ombiasy in Malagasy). Iaban’i ...
  • I Totôry 2 A 

    Unknown
    The material is the first part of the second of eleven texts (the fourth text and the second and third parts of the eleventh were not digitized) owned by Iaban’i Totôry, a diviner-healer (called ombiasy in Malagasy). Iaban’i ...
  • I Totôry 9 B 

    Unknown
    The material is the second part of the ninth of eleven texts (the fourth text and the second and third parts of the eleventh were not digitized) owned by Iaban’i Totôry, a diviner-healer (called ombiasy in Malagasy). Iaban’i ...
  • RG 3 D 

    Unknown
    The material is the fourth part of the third of four texts owned by Georges, who was in the same family as Iaban’i Totôry, a diviner-healer (called ombiasy in Malagasy). Georges belonged to the Anakara Clan and lived in a ...
  • RG 1 A 

    Unknown
    The material is the first part of the first of four texts owned by Georges, who was in the same family as Iaban’i Totôry, a diviner-healer (called ombiasy in Malagasy). Georges belonged to the Anakara Clan and lived in a ...
  • Jean Cahier 2 C 

    Unknown
    The material is the third part of the second of two texts copied and owned by Jean, a diviner-healer (called ombiasy in Malagasy). Jean belonged to the Anakara Clan and lived in a village called Vatomasina in the Antemoro ...
  • I Totôry 2 C 

    Unknown
    The material is the third part of the second of eleven texts (the fourth text and the second and third parts of the eleventh were not digitized) owned by Iaban’i Totôry, a diviner-healer (called ombiasy in Malagasy). Iaban’i ...
  • I Totôry 7 

    Unknown
    The material is the seventh of eleven texts (the fourth text and the second and third parts of the eleventh were not digitized) owned by Iaban’i Totôry, a diviner-healer (called ombiasy in Malagasy). Iaban’i Totôry belonged ...
  • Mahef 1 A 

    Unknown
    The material is the first part of the first of four texts owned by Mosa Mahefamanana, a religious chief (called katibo in Malagasy), and then by his daughter, named Iabani’i Grity (short for Marguerite). Mosa Mahefamanana ...

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