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Arabic Manuscripts of the Western Sahara. Trying to Frame an African Literary Tradition

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This review article discusses the pros and cons of two bio-bibliographical tools for Western Saharan Arabic manuscripts. Research into this rich manuscript culture has been delayed; at the same time, the inadequate conservation of these manuscripts urgently demands more attention. Both bio-bibliographical tools are the outcome of profound pioneering studies and lay the foundations to foster new research agendas concerned with the Saharan manuscript culture, intellectual history, and social history. However, both compilers come from different academic disciplines. This fact is mirrored by the way data has been presented and compiled. Furthermore, the pluralistic and decentralized scholarly traditions of the Sahara produce their own obstacles and make such data collection a tremendously difficult task. Therefore, such tools—as important as they are—remain a work in progress and might most effectively be continued as an online database with an appointed editorial team that frequently updates the compilation with the new research results.

Affiliations: 1: Freie Universität Berlin, Germany


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