Projects

  • The Ancient Afrikan Origins Of Pan-Afrikanism

    The theory and practice of the unification of Afrikan=Black people is an ancient Afrikan imperative

    Abstract

    Pan-Afrikanism is often regarded as a modern phenomenon and a direct response or reaction to colonialism and enslavement. However, because Pan-Afrikanism can be understood as the unification of Afrika and Afrikan people across various dimensions including politics, socio-economics, military etc., we argue that the concept, theory and practice of the unification of Afrikan people along these lines is a demonstrably ancient Afrikan imperative. Through this lens we further argue that instances of Pan-Afrikanism in practice can be observed in all ancient and modern Afrikan empires, which unified various smaller Afrikan kingdoms and peoples into larger empires.[1] Most notably, this imperative can be seen in Ancient Kmt  Kmt ‘Land of Black people’ which, through  smз tзwy ‘unification of the two lands,’ geo-politically, militarily, economically, spiritually and socially unified šmˁw ‘Upper Kmt’ and Tз-mḥw ‘Lower Kmt’ and the  Kmt ‘Black People/Citizens of Kmt’ located therein. From this point of departure, the historical record shows that, with the founding of the state, the primary original foreign policy directive of the early rulers of the Old Kingdom of  Kmt ‘Land of Black people’ was to integrate more Black people and incorporate more land from their ultimate place of origin in the South into the empire. In doing so the peculiar ethnic identities of these “Kemetized” people were effectively subsumed under a larger identity predicated on physical appearance (phenotype of Blackness), shared common ancestry (genotype as manifested in phenotype) and allegiance (as manifested in shared worldview, common cultural/spiritual practice, dedication to political authority). This Pan-Afrikan policy of Afrikan/Black integration and expansion remained in place–at least to some degree–even through the Middle Kingdom and New Kingdom and into the period of a shift in foreign policy to also incorporate Eurasians (whose allegiance proved to be rather to their own genetic survival and not that of Afrikans/Blacks). This shift in foreign policy was a turning point signaling the eventual downfall of the empire. The analysis presented in this paper is significant in that it removes the discussion of Pan-Afrikanism from its current status where it remains “suspended in air” as a yet-to-be-attained ideal to its proper ancient historical place from which lessons may be drawn.[2] In doing so, numerous rich and instructive examples can be followed wherein Pan-Afrikanism was successfully (or unsuccessfully) implemented through diplomatic and/or military means that can serve as a guide in contemporary times for modern Pan-Afrikanism.

     

    Keywords: Pan-Afrikanism, Origins

    [1]See Nathan Goldberg, “Ture Exhorts Audience to Organize to Effect Social Change,”  UB Reporter 26 (1995), http://www.buffalo.edu/ubreporter/archive/vol26/vol26n16/6.txt. “A central point of Ture’s lecture was that Africa would be the first continent to unify under one socialist government. This unification, he maintained, would already exist today had Africa’s natural evolutionary process toward unity not been interrupted by European colonialism and the slave trade.” This is a different point from one being made in this paper as we are arguing that localized models of Pan-Afrikanism in practice existed in Classical Afrika rather than it was on the verge of being implemented at the dawn of colonialism and enslavement.

    [2]C.A. Diop and M. Cook, The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality (Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 1989)., p. xvi.

  • Instructions of Ptahhotep

    Multi-lingual translation of the Instructions of Ptahhotep with Shmsw Bak

    Introduction and Background

    This is a collective translation project with Shmsw Bak in which we are translating The Instructions of Ptahhotep: The Oldest Book in the World.

    Current members of Shmsw Bak are:

    Ayi Kwei Armah

    Ayesha Haruna Attah

    Nii K. Bentsi-Enchill

    Jacques Delpechin

    Cheikh Amala Blondin Diop

    Dialo Diop

    Ọbádélé Kambon

    Lumumba Shabaka

    Yoporeka Somet

    In online meeting sessions, we transliterate and translate each line on a common digital document and then come to a consensus on the best translation. To date, we are just short of translating the first hundred lines of the text. The output of the project will be a published book.

  • Akan Corpus Project

    Development of a centralised electronic database of Akan words and constructions

    Introduction and Background
    This project seeks to develop a comprehensive corpus of Akan language texts from oral and written sources for the purposes of digitisation and making such texts available for researchers from a wide variety of fields. The proposed project will address the problem of a lack of a centralised database of material for academic research by providing cutting-edge access to relevant data that can be used for phonetic, phonological, morphological, syntactic, semantic, pragmatic etc. analysis. Even though Akan has had a long history of research among West African languages, it is negligible in the new digital humanities domain because of the lack of credible, electronic centralised database of Akan words and constructions. Thus, this project seeks to build a corpus which will provide
    • credible source of data to researchers across the globe.
    • access to a wide variety of data which allow for reliable analysis of words and constructions.
    • relevant data for dialectal variation studies.
    • documentation and tracking of diachronic and synchronic language change.
    More importantly, an Akan corpus will ensure that the language remains relevant and in the forefront of global research agenda and outcomes.
    Research Questions and Themes
    The project will proceed under the following sub-themes:
    • gathering and collecting written texts and spoken data
    • digitising written texts and transcribing spoken data
    • annotating and indexing digitised data
    • creating, hosting and managing a website with a high functionality to host corpus

  • Serial Verb Nominalization in Yoruba

    Project on the Nominalization of Serial Verbs in Yorùbá

    Abstract

    This research focuses on nominalization of serial verb constructions (SVCs) in the Yorùbá language as an extension of work previously done on Serial Verb Nominalization in Akan (Ghana). The study develops a relevant typology of serial verb nominalization on the basis of semantic integration and lexicalization using a prototype theory (PT) framework. The three degrees of semantic integration for serial verbs in Yorùbá are Full Lexicalized-Integrated Serial Verb Constructions (FL-ISVCs), Partial Lexicalized-Integrated Serial Verb Constructions (PL-ISVCs) and Clause Chaining Serial Constructions (CCSCs). As was found to be the case with Akan, it is expected that different behavior with regard to nominalization will be exhibited by each different type of Serial Verb Construction.

  • African Combat Forms Hidden in Plain Sight

    Engolo/Capoeira, Asafo Flag Dancing, and Knocking-and-Kicking may be analyzed by means of a comparison between natural vs. unnatural responses to oppression

    Abstract

    Engolo/Capoeira (Angola/Brazil), Asafo Flag dancing (Ghana) and Knocking-and-Kicking (North America) combine the aesthetics of dance with varying degrees of combat-oriented movements. It has been argued in the literature that the dance aspect came about due to repressive environments of enslavement/colonialism and the need to disguise some of these arts to trick oppressors. We will demonstrate, however, that the association of dance and combat are part of a shared practical Pan-African imperative found throughout the African world that privileges movement over inertia. Nevertheless, documented repression in certain instances may have led to a greater emphasis on the dance aspect to the detriment of open combative application. In this presentation we will demonstrate that, even in the dance, fundamental movements of each may still retain practical combat application. As such, today, why would the dance aspect seem to continue to be favored over overtly combative/militaristic expressions when Africans of the continent and the diaspora have either removed prior modalities of repression or at the very least forced them to transform? We analyze this conundrum with regard to contemporary expressions of Engolo/Capoeira, Asafo Flag Dancing, and Knocking-and-Kicking by means of a comparison between natural vs. unnatural responses to oppression.

  • Misspellings, Typos, Deviations or Innovations? An Akan (Twi) Case Study on Lexicalization, Idiomaticity and Semantic Opacity

    Divergent writing may point to what native speakers know (or don’t know) about their language

    Abstract

    “Typos” and irregular/non-standard spellings are usually regarded as aberrations to be eschewed. However, in languages such as Akan (Twi) where there is a standard and an orthography which many speakers/writers may not have studied formally and with which many may not be familiar, writing may serve as a window into how speakers/writers think of their language. In other words, in such contexts, writing may serve as an externalized representation of internal cognitive processes an individual speaker may make use of to analyze and make sense of his or her language. What significance can be derived from words that are written together (as evidence of lexicalization, grammaticalization and idiomaticity), words that are written separately (which may have import for phonetics/phonology) and those that are written haphazardly by the same speaker? Conceptually, these “errata” can be understood in the prism of four complementary pairs theorized as driving language change: knowledge and ignorance; intentionality and unintentionality; resistance and acquiescence; importance and unimportance. In this study, we will look at data from personal exchanges and public fora wherein writing diverges from the written standard analyzing what significance these “typos” may have with regard to what native speakers know (or don’t know) and think (or don’t think) about their language.