Seminar – A case of indigenous cultural heritage preservation: Eritrea and the recovery of its printed heritage
Date : Mardi 4 février 2020, 14h00-17h00 / Date: Tuesday, February 4th, 2020, 2:00-5:00pm
À / Venue: Berhanou Abebe Library, French Center for Ethiopian Studies (JanMeda https://goo.gl/maps/sutSritp3MU2)
Over the past decades the historical libraries of Timbuktu and the parchments of the Ethiopian churches and monasteries have questioned the general idea that Africa is, at its very core, orality. These discoveries have greatly transformed our understanding of the of African past. But other kind of written documents continue to be neglected despite the rich potential in unfolding the African past: printed material produced in Africa since the arrival of the first printing presses. A large amount of books, bookleats and journals, locally printed and often written in vernacular languages have not yet found their way in the official libraries and repositories. It is important to stress the fact that this kind of printed sources are extremely rare and delicate and face the risk of destruction if urgent action is not taken. Since 2019, the University of Pavia and the Research and Documentation Center of Asmara have teamed up in order to recover, share and valorize the Eritrean printed heritage. Can other African nations take inspiration from the Eritrean case ?
Massimo Zaccaria is Associate Professor in the African History at the University of Pavia where he teaches classes on the history of Islam in Africa, colonization and decolonization and the Indian Ocean region. His research interests include the social and economic history of the Horn of Africa during the colonial period, the history of Islam in Africa, and the history of literacy. His most recent articles have appeared in national and international journals: Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, International Labor and Working Class History, Africa, Eritrean Studies Review. He is the author of “La lunga strada verso Ginevra. L’Etiopia e la Conferenza della Pace di Parigi (1918-1919)”, Rivista Italiana di Storia Internazionale, II/1, gennaio-giugno 2019, pp. 31-54 and Anch’io per la tua bandiera. Il V battaglione ascari in missione sul fronte libico, 1912 (Ravenna, 2012).