Democracy in Africa ~ In response to requests from colleagues and friends, we have assembled a reading list on African Politics. This reading list is collated in solidarity with those who are currently attempting to decolonise the university across Africa, and beyond. We welcome your recommendations of outstanding scholarship to add to this bibliography.
NB: Currently, this list focuses on English translations and texts but we are in the midst of developing lists in other languages and would welcome your suggestions below.
In Noord-Afrika worden van oudsher Berberse talen gesproken. De geschiedenis leert ons dat het altijd al een gebied is geweest waar verschillende culturen elkaar hebben ontmoet en waar verschillende talen naast elkaar hebben bestaan.
Zo werd er tijdens de Romeinse overheersing van Noord-Afrika (van de tweede eeuw voor Christus tot de zesde eeuw na Christus), naast genoemde Berberse talen, Latijn en Punisch gesproken. In het begin van de achtste eeuw na Christus begon de islam zich over Noord-Afrika uit te breiden en dat bracht een verspreiding van Arabische spreektalen met zich mee. Dit proces verliep in het ene gebied langzamer dan in het andere. Zo was waarschijnlijk de overgrote meerderheid van de Marokkaanse bevolking tot ver in de 19e eeuw Berbertalig. In Marokko werden tijdens de periode van koloniale overheersing (1912-1956) Frans en Spaans aan de reeds aanwezige talen toegevoegd.
“In negen landen van Noord-Afrika worden tegenwoordig Berberse talen gesproken. Het totale aantal sprekers is ongeveer vijfentwintig miljoen. We onderscheiden acht à tien verschillende Berberse talen die weliswaar taalkundig sterk verwant, maar in praktijk in wisselende mate onderling verstaanbaar zijn. Als taalfamilie behoren Berberse talen bij het Afroaziatisch”.
Verreweg de meeste Berbertaligen vinden we in Marokko, een land met 30 miljoen inwoners. Naar schatting de helft van de Marokkanen spreekt van huis uit een van de drie Marokkaanse Berberse talen (voor de geografische verspreiding zie het kaartje): Rifijns Berber (Tarifiyt) in het noorden, met ongeveer twee miljoen sprekers; Midden-Atlas Berber (Tamazight) in het midden, met ongeveer vier miljoen sprekers en Tasjelhiyt Berber (Tasjelhiyt of Tasusiyt) in het zuiden, met ongeveer negen miljoen sprekers.
Veel Berbertaligen zijn uit hun oorspronkelijke woongebied geëmigreerd, zowel naar gebieden binnen hun eigen vaderland als naar andere landen. De grootste stad van Marokko, Casablanca, is voor zestig procent Berbertalig; één op de twaalf inwoners van Parijs spreekt een Berberse taal.
Als gevolg van arbeidsmigratie vanuit Marokko, vanaf de jaren zeventig van de vorige eeuw, hebben zich in Nederland veel Marokkanen gevestigd. Thans, 2005, wonen er ongeveer 300.000 Marokkanen in Nederland. Hiervan is driekwart Berbertalig, dus ongeveer 220.000 mensen, waarvan waarschijnlijk 180.000 Rifberbers en 40.000 Berbertaligen uit de Midden-Atlas en Zuid-Marokko.
Het Tasjelhiyt Berber van Zuid-Marokko is naar aantal sprekers de grootste Berberse taal van Marokko. De noordelijke grens van het Tasjelhiyt Berber-taalgebied wordt gevormd door de noordelijke rand van de Hoge-Atlas; de zuidelijke grens is de denkbeeldige lijn van Foum Zguid, een plaats ten zuiden van Ouarzazate, in het oosten, tot het plaatsje Ifni aan de kust in het westen. De oostelijke grens is de denkbeeldige lijn van Demnate, over Ouarzazate naar Foum Zguid. De westelijke grens is de kust van de Atlantische oceaan, tussen de steden Essaouira en Ifni. Ten zuiden van de stad Demnate gaat het Tasjelhiyt Berber geleidelijk over in het Berber van de Midden-Atlas.
Het Tasjelhiyt Berberse taalgebied, dat in oppervlakte ongeveer vier keer zo groot is als Nederland, was bij de oude Arabische geografen en historici bekend als as-Sûs al-Aqsâ “de verafgelegen Sous”. De Sous is de naam van de grote vlakte ten oosten van Agadir. Vandaar dat het Tasjelhiyt Berber ook wel Sous Berber wordt genoemd. In Franstalige werken noemt men deze taal gewoonlijk “Chleuh” of “Tachelhiyt”. Read more
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Spinoza Lecture 2016 – Amsterdam, November 27
Part 1 ~ Personal meaning
It’s an honour to address the Spinozakring in Amsterdam on Spinozadag. As a young man, I was living in Belfast during the darkest years of the terrorist Troubles, when I set out for Trinity College, in Dublin to begin 5 years of post-graduate research on the subject: “Spinoza’s Ethics and the Meaning of Life.”
What followed was an unequal struggle – Spinoza was even more challenging than I thought – and I didn’t find the meaning of life. In the process, I struggled, mentally. No one I met seemed the slightest bit interested in Spinoza and the more I read and understood The Ethics, the more isolated, anxious and remote from everyday life I became – as if I was going in one direction and everyone else was headed in another.
And during those difficult years, I learned new ways of thinking and Being – perspectives and insights on life and the human condition. Things that have stayed with me to this day; that made me who I am; and that will – I hope – play an important part in my future. After much difficulty, I learned to see and understand the world the way Spinoza saw it.
Spinoza became my anchor – my reference – for exploring life — a beacon of intellectual strength and independence. ‘The Philosopher of Amsterdam” – became my cultural hero in Belfast – not only for his philosophy, but for his character. And just as he was an outsider in his community, so was I.
I learned that the concept of Unity – of living with an attitude towards One-ness, cohesion, and cooperation — was central to Spinoza’s thinking and that his greatest work, The Ethics, described a path to a radical form of mental health through three mutually reinforcing forms of unity, designed to cure three kinds of division.
The first step is to heal and unite the divided self, to overcome conflicted and self-harming emotions, using his psychology; the second, is to unite us with others in strong bonds of friendship, guided by his radical humanism; the third, a cure for ontological alienation in moments of insight when our drop-consciousness joins in an oceanic experience with the eternal.
These three perspectives on human existence – the psychological, the pragmatic and the metaphysical – define why Spinoza’s thinking is so powerful.
Part 2 ~ The two truths
And this brings us to the tension at the centre of his Ethics – and indeed, the terrible contradiction at the heart of the human condition – one that generates so much religious superstition and metaphysical speculation. I’ll try and put this as clearly as possible.
The first self-evident truth of the human condition is the subjective truth of Being, how we feel as we look outwards onto the world. We’ve already beaten astronomical odds to arrive as self-conscious beings and sense the significance of our moment. The truth of our individual identity – that we are separate and distinct from everything else – places us at the centre of our universe. We instinctively prioritize our needs and drives, those we love and care for, and the projects we value. Above all, we want our chance at life to continue.
The second self-evident truth – and it is just as mysterious — is that none of this matters. From the perspective of timeless eternity, whether we live or die, whether our projects succeed or fail, what we want for ourselves and others, means nothing. Everything we value – including our lives – will be taken from us, often brutally, no matter how hard we fight, how much we care, or how good or valuable we are to Mankind. If you want to believe our lives and hopes matter in some objective way, chose a religion, but don’t read Spinoza to find the answer.
These two truths represent life and death, or more accurately, time and eternity. They’re at war with each other and define the drama of the human condition. Their conflict inspires great art, writing, theatre and music — acts of courage, love and self-sacrifice. But it also drives the dark side – depression, meaninglessness, war, suicide …. and violent extremism. The conflict is resolved in death, in that the second truth always wins – and we, as individuals – must surrender. But, it’s our defiance, our stubborn striving to hold our identity in the face of inevitable loss that makes the human condition feel like a restless, if not urgent, roller-coaster ride.
Like many great thinkers, Spinoza tries to reconcile these two truths… and he does it beautifully. He teaches us how both perspectives, both truths can be held and experienced simultaneously. He shows us a way to bring them together as a lived experience – purely for the love, strength and peace of mind — it brings us. This is his magic.
His Ethics has gifted us a strange, extraordinary, philosophy; – of this world, and yet not of this world – that makes it one of the truly great philosophical masterpieces.
Monika Palmberger ~ How Generations Remember. Conflicting Histories And Shared Memories In Post-War Bosnia And Herzegovina
From: Introduction: Researching Memory and Generation
[…] The title of this book, How Generations Remember, is an allusion to the title of Paul Connerton’s seminal book, How Societies Remember (1989). In his book, Connerton opens up a timely discussion going beyond the textual and discursive understanding of remembering by concentrating on embodied/habitual memory and ritual aspects of memory. In terms of the study of generations he thus mainly discusses generations as transmitters or receivers of group memory. Although Connerton’s pioneering contribution to the study of memory is unquestioned, by focusing on how memory is passed down through the generations he primarily answers the question of how group memory is conveyed and sustained. This emphasis on transmission and persistence leaves open the question of where to locate the individual, the agent, the force and possibility for reflexivity and change (Argenti and Schramm 2010; Shaw 2010). My study, in concentrating on the role of generational positioning, reveals that past experiences inform present stances, but also shows that it is the actor in the present that gives meaning to the past. This is also true for narratives of the past that are passed on from older to younger generations, and are then scrutinised and contextualised by the latter. It is suggested that people’s sense of continuity can deal with the inconsistencies that arise with this transfer between generations. It is this field of tension between collective and personal, and between persistence and change that is central in the discussion of generational positioning in this book.
Dowload book: http://link.springer.com/book/
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