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Title:From Toledo to Timbuktu: the case for a biography of the Ka'ti archive, and its sources
Author:Lliteras, Susana MolinsISNI
Periodical:South African Historical Journal (ISSN 0258-2473)
Geographic term:Mali
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/02582473.2013.763402
Abstract:Timbuktu has recently become an 'iconic' symbol of the precolonial written tradition in Subsaharan Africa. However, scholars have often only focused their research on the content of the manuscripts and the scholarly traditions they represent. In this article the author examines the 'life' of the Fondo Ka'ti archive in Timbuktu, Mali, one of the many private libraries that have surfaced in the town in recent years, and that has positioned itself apart from other libraries due to its unique historical construction. The author argues that archival biography is the most relevant approach when analysing this topic and offer an assessment of the sources for such a biography. Therefore, she treats the Fondo Ka'ti archive itself as an historical artefact, looking both at its conditions of production as well as at how its own being has in turn affected the context it finds itself in. Such a perspective enables fresh insights into the entangled processes that produce history, it can point to the hybridities embedded in both archives and identities and set up alternative sources for histories. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]