Language in African urban contexts

Beiträge zur Afrikaforschung

Book 31
LIT Verlag Münster
1
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This volume contains the results of the Bayreuth SFB research program "Effects of globalisation processes on the vitality of languages in West African cities". Two towns with different historical and colonial background, Maiduguri in Nigeria and Banfora in Burkina Faso, were selected as research areas. The contrast between language and social institutions is most obvious in the colonial and post- colonial world in Africa. Colonization was characterized by the importation of European institutions which were of a qualitatively new nature linked to the globalising forces. This qualitative newness is captured in our term "direct globalisation". A basic observation is that the globalising forces led to a hierarchicalisation of languages in Africa which is not obviously attested in the institutions of direct globalisation. Our term "indirect globalisation" describes the alignment of local practices to the external forces and institutions introduced during a globalising colonial and post-colonial experience.
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Publisher
LIT Verlag Münster
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Published on
Dec 31, 2007
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Pages
384
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ISBN
9783825803889
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Language
French
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Genres
History / Africa / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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Eligible for Family Library

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"Africa in Translation is a thoughtful contribution to the literature on colonialism and culture in Germany and will find readers in the fields of German history and German studies as well as appealing to audiences in the large and interdisciplinary fields of colonialism and postcolonialism."
---Jennifer Jenkins, University of Toronto

The study of African languages in Germany, or Afrikanistik, originated among Protestant missionaries in the early nineteenth century and was incorporated into German universities after Germany entered the "Scramble for Africa" and became a colonial power in the 1880s. Despite its long history, few know about the German literature on African languages or the prominence of Germans in the discipline of African philology. In Africa in Translation: A History of Colonial Linguistics in Germany and Beyond, 1814--1945, Sara Pugach works to fill this gap, arguing that Afrikanistik was essential to the construction of racialist knowledge in Germany. While in other countries biological explanations of African difference were central to African studies, the German approach was essentially linguistic, linking language to culture and national identity. Pugach traces this linguistic focus back to the missionaries' belief that conversion could not occur unless the "Word" was allowed to touch a person's heart in his or her native language, as well as to the connection between German missionaries living in Africa and armchair linguists in places like Berlin and Hamburg. Over the years, this resulted in Afrikanistik scholars using language and culture rather than biology to categorize African ethnic and racial groups. Africa in Translation follows the history of Afrikanistik from its roots in the missionaries' practical linguistic concerns to its development as an academic subject in both Germany and South Africa throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Sara Pugach is Assistant Professor of History at California State University, Los Angeles.

Jacket image: Perthes, Justus. Mittel und Süd-Afrika. Map. Courtesy of the University of Michigan's Stephen S. Clark Library map collection.

It is mainly within and around Mediterranean itineraries that the European Union seeks its in/tangible cultural heritage, an important component of both individual and collective identities. This volume brings together many different strands of analysis, helping to shed light on the multifaceted entities that constitute the socio-semiotic landscape of the Mediterranean. It views this vibrant scenario from a cross-cultural perspective, and investigates the domains of national identities and stereotypes, advertising and social media, TV series, myths and festivals, landscapes, culture-bound terms, migrating words, and food.

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Other chapters explore the language of tourism in the diverse multimodal representations and textualizations of the tourist experience in Mediterranean destinations, mainly expressed through social media. The contemporary appreciation of the Mediterranean Diet as a global cultural heritage is also explored through the magnifying lens of such media.

Given the variety of perspectives and methodological approaches adopted by the contributors, this volume offers useful insights to students and practitioners of discourse analysis alike. From an educational perspective, the book, which also includes practical worksheets, can be used in first- and second-level degrees in Foreign Languages, Communication, Political Sciences, Media and Cultural Studies, as well as specific courses in linguistics, multimodal studies, critical discourse analysis and corpus linguistics.

The underlying rationale of the book is its concentration on the prominent role of English in representing the Mediterranean heritage, despite the fact that it is a non-Mediterranean language. At the same time, the volume bridges the gap between academic research and class practice at the university level.

In the 1880s, as the European powers were carving up Africa, King Leopold II of Belgium seized for himself the vast and mostly unexplored territory surrounding the Congo River. Carrying out a genocidal plundering of the Congo, he looted its rubber, brutalized its people, and ultimately slashed its population by ten million—all the while shrewdly cultivating his reputation as a great humanitarian. Heroic efforts to expose these crimes eventually led to the first great human rights movement of the twentieth century, in which everyone from Mark Twain to the Archbishop of Canterbury participated. King Leopold's Ghost is the haunting account of a megalomaniac of monstrous proportions, a man as cunning, charming, and cruel as any of the great Shakespearean villains. It is also the deeply moving portrait of those who fought Leopold: a brave handful of missionaries, travelers, and young idealists who went to Africa for work or adventure and unexpectedly found themselves witnesses to a holocaust. Adam Hochschild brings this largely untold story alive with the wit and skill of a Barbara Tuchman. Like her, he knows that history often provides a far richer cast of characters than any novelist could invent. Chief among them is Edmund Morel, a young British shipping agent who went on to lead the international crusade against Leopold. Another hero of this tale, the Irish patriot Roger Casement, ended his life on a London gallows. Two courageous black Americans, George Washington Williams and William Sheppard, risked much to bring evidence of the Congo atrocities to the outside world. Sailing into the middle of the story was a young Congo River steamboat officer named Joseph Conrad. And looming above them all, the duplicitous billionaire King Leopold II. With great power and compassion, King Leopold's Ghost will brand the tragedy of the Congo—too long forgotten—onto the conscience of the West.
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