Historians, anthropologists as well as specialists of various scholarly traditions are invited to reflect on the question of production, transmission and preservation of administrative and legal documentation in pre-colonial Africa. The aim of this panel (panel 152, ECAS2013, Lisbon, 26-28 June) is to foster dialogue between scholars working on non-narrative sources, whether land charters, weddings contracts, deeds, funerary inscriptions or other archival materials. Presentations of methodological issues rather than case-studies would facilitate a comparative approach leading to a renewed understanding of the social organizations that produced these documents. Practices of writing, history of local and state administration, and prosopography are among the particular themes organizing this interdisciplinary dialogue. Colleagues working in different regions of Africa and on Muslim, Christian or Jewish sources will share their methods with Western Medievalist(s). While often required in Medieval studies, a comparative approach within Africa is long overdue. This panel ambitions to build bridges between well-known methods for the critical study of legal documents, called diplomatic, and sources produced in the African context that would benefit from such a methodology. Experiences about the critical edition of such sources would be a relevant contribution to this panel.
Call for papers will close on 16th January and proposal must be done on-line (see http://cea.iscte.pt/ecas2013/cfp.shtml).
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