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Africa in Europe and Europe in Africa

Reassessing the Cultural Legacy

Edited By Yolanda Aixelà-Cabré

This book studies the Afro-European and Euro-African past and present from an interdisciplinary and comparative perspective. It addresses Africa as a whole, eschewing historical divisions between North and Sub-Saharan Africa. Its content exemplifies the extent to which the histories of Europe and Africa are intertwined, and the way European sources are usually privileged in the writing of historical accounts of cross-cultural encounters. Using post/decolonial studies, the authors' point of view is based on anthropology, history, ethnomusicology, and film and literary studies. The authors argue that mutual experiences and imaginations have affected how cultural heritage and legacy are conceived and thought of, as well as memories and sociopolitical experiences. The aim is to establish and encourage a broader knowledge of Africa–Europe and Europe–Africa encounters, incorporating case studies of Euro-African and Afro-European legacies. The final goal is to favour a more relational point of view by comparing Euro-African and Afro-European realities.

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1. Sharing Memories of Global Encounters: DANIELA MEROLLA

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DANIELA MEROLLA

Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales (France), Paris

The present chapter’s aim is to contribute to the reflection on Afro-European memories from the perspective of African oral and written literatures and films, more specifically, that of Amazigh Berber studies, which are my fields of research.1

Some years ago, I set off together with my colleague Kofi Dorvlo to research oral and written narratives on the ancient migrations of the Ewe people in Ghana. Today the Ewes inhabit south-eastern Ghana, where they arrived in the 17th century after a migration started from East Africa around the 11th century.2 My colleague and I interviewed several people on such migration stories and among them a retired schoolteacher, Mr. Goodwill Seth Tamakloe. During our conversation, I explained that before doing research on Ewe oral literature in Ghana, I had worked on a similar topic on Berber (Amazigh) literature in North Africa. Mr. Tamakloe began to tell us about his knowledge based on stories transmitted orally—mouth to ear, so to say—but also on written texts, as he was a schoolteacher and history was one of his subjects. At a certain moment, he told us that according to oral narratives, the Ewes traveled from the area that is now on the border between Egypt and Sudan. He added that in such a journey they encountered and had exchanges with Berber peoples, before going south to Togo and Ghana. Then his story went on...

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