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Islam in the Horn of Africa: A Comparative Literary Approach (IslHornAfr)
Start date: Jul 1, 2013, End date: Jun 30, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"The study of Africa as a region ""peripheral"" to mainstream Islamic studies helps a deeper understanding of the cultural dynamics of Islam. While North African Islam has been subject to extensive research, the Muslim cultures of sub-Saharan Africa have received relatively little attention; most of it paid to West African regions. This project will contribute to both African and Islamic studies by producing for the first time a critical evaluation of textual witnesses of Islamic culture in the Horn of Africa (esp. Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somaliland) and therefore considerably contribute to the change in the state-of-the-art in both Islamic and African studies.The comparative study will be the first to assess simultaneously types and contents of texts, their transmission history, and the role they (as well as the respective authors and copyists) have played in the culture and identity formation in both the Horn of Africa and the “heartland” Islamic countries. Both Arabic texts as well as those written in local languages (using Arabic alphabet: ajami) will be considered, allowing an evaluation of linguistic and cultural influences. A reevaluation of the external Islamic sources dealing with these areas will complete the picture.Competences in philology, history, manuscript studies, linguistics and computer science will be merged in producing a Digital Research Environment for North-East African Islam. More than a corpus of centrally collected data, it will include images accompanied by searchable descriptive metadata, digital text editions, bibliography as well as an open access database for quantitative and qualitative comparative analysis of text and documentary corpora as well as their linguistic and graphic features will serve as a tool for the project and as a basis for future research.The research findings will provide a deeper understanding of Muslim thought and proselytism, and the effects Islam has had on society."
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