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African Language Literature

I am a strong advocate for African language instruction and research. I am not expert in any African languages, but I know enough to know the incredible riches each holds. Therefore, I do what I can to encourage its study and support. Among these are hosting panels and conferences. Also, I have posted a crowd-sourced list of African language novels translated into English.

In the Garden of the Mother Tongue: African Language Literature (2015)

Friday, March 27th, 2015, 3:00PM - 4:40PM

Linguistic and Literary Tensions and Moroccan Poetry: A Darija Renaissance?
Rachid Aadnani, Wellesley College

Habari ya ‘meta-’? Metanarration and Metareference in Contemporary Swahili Novels
Lutz Diegner, Humboldt University Berlin

The Disenchantment of the World: Intertextuality and Disillusionment in Euphrase Kezilahabi’s Nagona and Mzingile
Meg Arenberg, Indiana University

Saturday, March 28th, 3:00PM - 4:40PM

Arabic Literature in the Horn of Africa: Code-switching as a Literary Strategy?
Xavier Luffin, Université Libre de Bruxelles (Belgium)

Okot p’Bitek’s Ecologies: Nature metaphors as empowered mourning in Song of Lawino and Song of Ocol
Meredith Shepard, Columbia University

Of Pregnant Abbesses and Cannibals: French and Ethiopic Medieval Marian Tales
Wendy Laura Belcher, Princeton University

African Language Literature: Capitalizing (on) the Periphery (2014)

with Michelle Decker

Friday, March 21, 2014, 8:30AM - 10:20AM

Beyond the Francophone: Kaddu, a Vernacular Revolution in Senegal
Annette Lienau, U of Massachusetts

Three Novels by Balaraba Ramat Yakubu: the Exposed Woman Revealing the Secrets of the Home
Carmen McCain, U of Wisconsin, Madison

“Neno limezaliwa [A word has been born]”: Genre and Identity in the Works of Ebrahim Hussein
Meg Arenberg, Indiana U - Bloomington Sub-Saharan

Literature in Arabic: Toward a New Trend in Arabic and African Literature
Xavier Luffin, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium

Saturday, March 22, 2014, 8:30AM - 10:20AM

“Liputa”: Language Practice in Congolese Popular Song
John Nimis, U of Wisconsin-Madison

Co-existence as Existence: Exploring the Relationship between Setswana Traditional Culture and European Culture in the Early Setswana Novel
Dinah Itumeleng, Florida Atlantic U

Taking Afrophone Literatures outside the Periphery
Rémi Tchokothe, U of Bayreuth, Germany

The Dead End of Oromo Written Literature?
Abreham Fanta, U of California Los Angeles (UCLA)

Mapping the Circulation of African Literature (2013)

April 5, 2013, 11-12:50

“The ‘History of Kilwa’ as a History of Africa”
Michelle Decker, Pennsylvania State University

“The Awda Nagast (Circles of Kings): 17th-Century Ethiopic Divination/Astrology Literature. Addressing Catastrophe and Change through Magic”
Eyob Derillo, University of Winchester

“Our Mother Walatta Petros: A 17th-Century Ethiopic Text by and about African Women”
Wendy Laura Belcher, Princeton University 

April 6, 2013, 11-12:50

“Urban Multilingualism in the Poetry of Sipho Sepamla”
Loren Kruger, University of Chicago

“Conceptualizing East Africa: The Historical Writings of Paul Sindi Seme”
Ethan Sanders, Bridgewater State University 

“Blockades on Pilgrim’s Road: Early Yoruba Novels and Christian Allegory”
Stephen Ney, University of the Gambia 

April 7, 2013, 11-12:50

“The Heart is Homeward Bound: Cosmopolitanism and Originality in the First Amharic novel”
Michaela Unterbarnscheidt, SOAS, University of London

“Between Literature and History in Ethiopia: A Biography of Ras Makonnen as an Incipient Historical Novel”
Benjamin Volff, Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, Paris

Looking Forward, Looking Back: Cataclysm, Representation, and African Literature (2012)

March 30, 2012, 8-10 am

African Interiors: The Autobiography of Tippu Tip”
Michelle Decker, Penn State University “

“Cave Consciousness: Language Play and the Metaphorics of (Self-) Containment in the Work of Said Ahmed Mohamed and Samuel Beckett”
Taylor A. Young, Princeton University

“Script Rupture and Linguistic Palimpsests in Senegalese Literary History: Comparative Readings in Arabic, French, and Wolof ”
Annette Damayanti Lienau, University of California, Los Angeles (Visiting 2011-12)/University of Massachusetts Amherst 

“Brothers, Friends, and Enemies: Conquest, Conflict and Assimilation in Sirat Sayf ibn Dhi Yazan”
Helen Blatherwick, School of Oriental and African Studies

March 31, 2012, 8-10 am

“Overview of the Hagiographic Traditions of East Tigray (Ethiopia)”
Denis Nosnitsin, Hamburg University, Ethio-Spare 

“The Feelings of Motherless Children: AIDS Orphans and their Epistles to the Dead”
Dagmawi Woubshet, Cornell University

“Hermeneutics of the Ge’ez Qene Tradition”
Yikunnoamlak Mezgebu Zerabiruk, Addis Ababa University 

April 1, 2012, 8-10 am

“The Ass’s Catastrophe: An African Apuleius”
Margaret Anne Doody, University of Notre Dame 

“African Time vs. Imperial Time: Augustine, Kati, and Armah”
Stephen J. Ney, University of the Gambia

“J.E. Casely Hayford’s Prophetic Ethiopianism”
Mark DiGiacomo, Rutgers-New Brunswick