Book Collecting in Timbuktu

Book Collecting in Timbuktu

Date: Monday, October 3, 2022, 4:30pm
Location: Barker Center, Room 133

SPEAKER: Shamil Jeppie, University of Cape Town

This lecture surveys five centuries of collecting in Timbuktu, a town in the interior of West Africa, that has come to symbolize a larger world of learning and book culture in the region. This lecture follows citations in texts written in the town in the 16th century, book borrowing and copying, through to a major collector of the early 20th century who both attempted to conserve the manuscript book tradition and imported printed books to Timbuktu.

Associate Professor Shamil Jeppie received his PhD from Princeton University. He has worked on aspects of the social history of Cape Town and Durban, South Africa, and 19th-century Sudan. Shamil founded The Tombouctou Manuscripts Project in which he explored the formation of a culture of collecting in Timbuktu. He also led a National Research Foundation study group on history and the humanities in South Africa today. He has been the chairperson of the South-South Exchange Programme in the History of Development (Sephis), and was the Director of HUMA, Institute for Humanities in Africa. Shamil serves on various platforms concerned with the development of the humanities, history and heritage in Africa and the global South.

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See also: History of the Book, Seminar

Considers the production, circulation, and reception of texts. While the bulk of seminar members focus on European and American print culture, Boston-area scholars of other times, places, and/or media are welcome to join our conversation on themes such as publishing, censorship, authorship, copyright, and reading. To learn more, visit the Harvard Book History website.

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