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Award Number Grant ProgramAward RecipientProject TitleAward PeriodApproved Award Total
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RZ-260906-18Research Programs: Collaborative ResearchBoston University'Ajami Literature and the Expansion of Literacy and Islam: The Case of West Africa9/1/2019 - 8/31/2022$250,000.00Fallou Ngom   Boston UniversityBostonMA02215-1300USA2018African StudiesCollaborative ResearchResearch Programs25000002500000

Research and preparation for online and print publications of texts written in the West African languages Fula, Hausa, Mandinka, and Wolof that use Arabic script (‘Ajami). (36 months)

'Ajami is the Arabic term that refers to languages other than Arabic that are written in the Arabic script. 'Ajami has been instrumental in the spread of Islam beyond the Arab heartland and, while 'Ajami literatures of the Middle East and Asia are well-documented, scholars have tended to overlook the rich 'Ajami legacies of sub-Saharan Africa. This project will highlight the 'Ajami literatures of Hausa, Mandinka, Fula, and Wolof and their role in the spread of literacy and Islam in West Africa. Available on a freely accessible multimedia website, a general interpretive essay comparing the four literatures will be accompanied, for each of the four languages, by twenty digitized 'Ajami manuscripts. Each will include interpretive materials, annotations, Latin alphabet transcription, and French and English translations. Of these twenty, a select five will feature video interviews and recitations by native speakers. A selection of the work will be published in the journal Islamic Africa.